Posted by: Tricia | Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you?

What were you doing? How did you learn of it? And what did you feel?

It’s hard to believe it’s already been six years since our sense of security…or rather, our

complacency…was destroyed. Destroyed with the carefully-arranged tons of concrete and metal that represented all that this country stands for. Free trade, fair commerce, prosperity, hard work.

The RK was a sweet little four-year-old. The IB was still far off in my future. I was a women’s Bible study facilitator for a group that met at church on Friday mornings, and I had just sat down at the dining room table to play catch-up on the lesson that I had to lead discussion about that following Friday. The RK was sitting comfortably on the couch watching PBS. I remember this was the first week of the Bible study, and I was mad at myself for already letting myself get behind.

Around 9:00 AM, my phone rings. It’s my mom.

“Hi Mom! What’s going on?”

“Are you watching the news?”

“No, of course not! [The RK] has reign over the TV, of course.”

“Turn on the news…it’s just terrible…”

So I go and commandeer the TV remote, turning on the Today show. The second plane had just hit the south tower of the World Trade Center. Once I overcame the immense shock, realizing this was actually happening, the first words out of my mouth to my mom were, “I bet this was the work of Osama bin Laden.”

She said, “Who?”

I reminded her of the various attacks abroad that had killed Americans…the Khobar Towers, the embassies in Kenya & Tanzania, the U.S.S. Cole. He was credited with all those.

Mom and I stayed on the phone for a little while longer, watching the horror unfold on our TV screens. Then I decided I better call the IX. I discover that my cell service is having issues, all the way over in Michigan. I finally get through to my husband, and he immediately starts telling me about how there’s no power at work, and he thinks they’re about to get the day off. Somehow I interject to tell him what has happened.

I sit there, staring at the TV in disbelief, not exactly knowing what to do. I have moments of sobbing, moments of inspiration. And the RK doesn’t quite know what to make of me. He had never seen me behave in such ways. That freaked him out more than what he was watching with me on TV. After all, what he was watching was something we all see on TV everyday. But up until this point, it was always in movies, TV shows…works of fiction.

If you ask him what he remembers of that day, that’s it. Not the attack itself, but his mommy’s reaction.

I remember how there was such hope that there could be survivors amidst all that rubble. Desperately wanting to do something to help, anything, I put the RK in the car and drove to our local Red Cross office, hoping to donate blood. It was closed, but I was later able to make an appointment for the next day. There was another guy who got there the same time I did, with the same thing in mind. I wonder how many more people drove over there that day with the same thing in mind.

I’ve never been able to successfully donate blood. But given the circumstances, I was determined. The next morning, I ate a good breakfast beforehand, and went to try to contribute in some small way. But alas, I still wasn’t able to fill a full pint bag before I started breaking out in a cold sweat, hearing the high-pitched hum in my ears, sparkly spots before my eyes. I’m still not sure if that’s a physical or psychological response…but whatever it is, it makes me mad.

Afterwards, in the cookie-and-juice area, I just cried. Cried over my failure. Cried for perhaps that one person who I could’ve helped save by sharing my blood. Just cried.

In the coming days, we’d learn that such a need for blood, extra emergency workers, medical personnel, equipment, etc., would not be needed after all. If I remember correctly, something like only six survivors were pulled from that rubble? Whatever it was, the number definitely wasn’t more than just two digits.

I remember a few days after that, when I was having dinner with my family, the ABC evening news with Peter Jennings was on the TV. And the last shot of the news was from London. It was tape shot at Buckingham Palace, where the royal band played the Star-Spangled Banner. When it was over, it cut back to Peter Jennings, a Canadian, mind you, who was noticeably choked up. As was I.

So now it’s six years later. I’m a mom of two now. And divorced. I have my own house. Peter Jennings is no longer with us. We still haven’t caught the evil bastard that did this to us. But life has gone on. Things are different now, but slowly, this country has fallen into a new state of normal, including the family members of those that perished that day.

So now, I offer my best wishes to the almost 3000 different groups of families and friends whose lives were turned upside-down on this date six years ago. You all are in my thoughts today, and most definitely my prayers. I hope today isn’t too painful for you, and I hope your lives are so blessed.

So that’s my personal story. I’d love to hear yours, if you’re willing to share it. What are the memories that stick out the most in your mind from that day, and how has your life changed these past six years?

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Responses

  1. I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the towers being hit… I was driving in my car and the first radio report indicated it was a small airplane that had hit..

    By the time I got to my office and fired up the internet, the real story had begun to unfold.. I think I went from there to the traders area around the corner from me and watched the news reports on their tv… After awhile, I went back to my desk and kept tracking the story on cnn or abcnews…

    My first daughter had just been born in March, so she was almost 6 months old.. I noticed the increase in security around her day care almost immediately and made sure I gave her a big hug and kiss that day.

    I join you in offering my best wishes to the groups who lost loved ones that day.. and am surprised at how normal life has almost resumed to be…

    Hook ’em,
    mG

  2. I think we all held our kids a little longer after that. My mind tends to wander to those women who lost their husbands on that day, then later found out they were pregnant.

    What I can’t get over is how the increased security at our airports now is such a pain to American flyers. I’ll willingly do whatever is requested of me to make sure that my privelege of safe air travel is upheld and maintained.

    Remember when we could go wait right at the gate to meet loved ones getting off a plane? I miss those days. In all actuality, that rule of not being allowed past security if you’re not a ticket-holder seems kinda ridiculous to me, given that all 19 hijackers were ticketed passengers. I guess the rule of thumb now, though, is we just can’t ever be too careful. So be it.


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