Directions Home

          Depending on what route I take to drive my children to school and to my office each day, I pass by the house of Robert Hayes on Main Street in Amesbury, Massachusetts.  It’s a lovely house overlooking the Merrimack River, across the street from Lowell’s Boat Shop which was built in 1793 and is the oldest operating boat shop in the United States. There are other lovely houses along this route, but I notice this one each day because Bob Hayes, 37 years old, walked through Logan Airport for the last time on the morning of September 11, 2001 headed to Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 11 for a business meeting. He left behind his wife, Debbie, who he ironically met at Logan Airport in 1989 and two small boys, Robbie who was 4 years old at the time and Ryan who was 8 months old. Tomorrow there will be a memorial there where Debbie still lives with her sons; but I don’t need a memorial to remember.  I remember each day as I drive by his house.

          After I pass the house of Bob Hayes I continue over the Hines Bridge. In the winter bald eagles come to nest in the tall white pines on either side of the bridge. We even have an Eagle Festival in February each year.  Derek Hines was 21 years old on September 11, 2001.  Four years later, on September 1, 2005 1st Lt. Derek Hines, from Newburyport, Massachusetts, was killed in Afghanistan in a firefight.  He left behind his parents and siblings. The bridge was dedicated to him in 2006.  Each time I cross the bridge I am grateful for those who serve and sad for those who gave their lives in that service, and for those left behind.  I would not want to be the mother of bridge. Not even one where eagles fly in winter.

          Immediately following the Hines Bridge is the Chain Bridge, the oldest suspension bridge in the United States, which signals the crossing into Newburyport.  After I drop off my children at school, I continue along High Street past the Newburyport Superior Court, the oldest regularly operating courthouse in the United States that opened in 1805 and where John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster and Rufus Choate argued, to my office downtown.  In my office I have a copy of the Bill of Rights on the wall.

          In the afternoon I pick up my children from school and follow the same route in reverse.  Coming home I also pass Holy Family Church, and the house where John Greenleaf Whittier lived and wrote “Snowbound.”  When we arrive home I get the mail and the newspaper. 

          On September 11, 2001 Jordan Shay was 14 years old.  He graduated from Amesbury High School in 2005, the same year Derek Hines was killed in Afghanistan. In the newspaper I read that on September 3, 2009 Spc. Jordan Shay, 22 years old, was killed in Iraq on his second tour of duty.  He came home today.  He will be buried this Saturday following a service at Holy Family Church.  In between will be another September 11th.


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