I've been scouring YouTube tonight for 9/11 videos. Reliving the moments and the scenes in Manhattan. Gracious, that second plane hit the tower at top speed.
I forgot about all of the people who visited the WTC site with "MISSING" signs, hoping in vain someone could provide happy news on a person they loved.
I forgot about all of the workers who didn't give a flip for their health --- sometimes not bothering to keep the surgeon's mask over their mouth --- as they helped to clear contaminated debris from the area. Maybe Congress can watch some of that footage and approve health benefits for those workers...but I digress.
I watched Letterman's eight-minute speech as he began his show on Sept. 17, the first one after the attacks. I remember seeing that and feeling a little less numb.
The next night, a chilly Tuesday on the South Side, baseball returned as the Yankees played the White Sox. In my mind's eye, I recall a sellout crowd coming together and trying to make each other feel a little less numb.
But, as you'll see in the story that I'll paste after I finish this ramble, fewer than 23,000 people attended the game.
Re-reading the news story I wrote that night makes me feel a little better now. If it interests you as well, that's terrific. And I wonder whether Carrie Bauchwitz is solving ethnic conflicts as I type.
Anyway, here goes:
Jimmy Freund entered Comiskey Park on Tuesday night wearing a New York Yankees cap and a Chicago White Sox sweatshirt.
He didn't show up to support either team.
"I'm a St. Louis Cardinal fan," said the earnest Freund, 25, who lives in the Ravenswood neighborhood on Chicago's north side. "I'm here to share the experience and sing the anthem with as many people as I can. I want to feel. I want to be with other people."
Many, it seemed, shared Freund's sentiments on the night baseball returned to Chicago for the first time since terrorists attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11.
Before a crowd of 22,785 that featured an unusually large contingent of 4,539 fans who chose to walk up and buy their tickets Tuesday, the White Sox conducted a tasteful pregame ceremony that brought out the patriot in everyone.
As 31 Chicago policemen and firefighters saluted the colors from their spots along the perimeter of the infield --- and the White Sox and Yankees stood on the foul lines with their caps over their hearts --- Chicagoan Phyllis Arnold offered soaring renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America."
Arnold's eyes misted when she concluded --- a condition she appeared to share with many in attendance.
Those in Comiskey Park seemed bound and determined to communicate their recently-revived American spirit.
South Side native Carrie Bauchwitz, for example, leaves for London next week to embark on a planned career in diplomacy.
As a recent graduate of George Washington University with a double major in journalism and politics --- as well as a concentration in ethnic conflicts --- the 21-year-old Bauchwitz has a strong sense of the uncertain world she's about to enter.
But Tuesday night was for Bauchwitz and her mother, Cathy, to show up at Comiskey Park to use their Sox season tickets.
For the first time, though, Bauchwitz didn't come to cheer the White Sox. Rather, she wanted to display her homemade "Sox Fans Love New York!!!" sign that was so new she had blue ink smudges all over her right hand.
"I just think the world needs to see some spirit," Bauchwitz said. "Secretly, I'm really cheering for New York tonight. I hope they win. They could use it more than us."
A Sox fan probably never expressed that sentiment at Comiskey Park before, but it was a night of unusual occurrences throughout the park.
All fans who tried to enter the park carrying anything bigger than a small purse were told to return their holdings to their car.
"We have to search everything," said Antoinette Robinson, one of the Guest Service Representatives monitoring the elevators that lead to the skyboxes. "No bags. No coolers. Nothing."
The White Sox even forced fans who tried to carry in American flags to return the flagsticks to their cars. The first 20,000 who entered the park, though, immediately were handled miniature flags with plastic sticks.
For the first time, members of the media had their workbags searched as they entered the park. Everyone who entered the White Sox clubhouse also had to register on a sign-in sheet.
Other things the White Sox did weren't wrapped in safety concerns.
On Monday, the White Sox called to invite the American Red Cross to set up booths on the lower concourse.
"We're doing a fundraiser and dispensing literature," said Donna Schultz, one of five Red Cross volunteers on hand. "We're hoping to raise money for the relief funds. We'll be here today, Wednesday and Thursday."
That coincides with the time the Yankees will be in town, though their manager, Joe Torre, wasn't looking ahead any further than Tuesday night.
"I can't worry about what's behind the door," Torre said. "You've got to live your life now."
And, according to one beer vendor, live it up.
"Cold beer!" he cried before the game. "Baseball's back! Have a beer! Celebrate!"