I resolved not to write about September 11, 2001, that fateful day. I didn’t feel that I needed to be reminded of the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 because, in all reality, I have never forgotten them. I never will. I see it every day in the eyes of my husband and the sweet faces of my daughters.
We held our breath and helplessly watched as our lives were tragically changed forever. Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that infamous morning, when the plane hit the north tower, at 8:47 am. That moment is seared into my brain like a branded battle scar. The myriad of
Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that infamous morning, when the plane hit the north tower, at 8:47 am. That moment is seared into my brain like a branded battle scar. The myriad of emotions that overwhelmed me in that exact moment in time will be with me always. It can’t be forgotten. I can still feel the sickness in the pit of stomach eating at my soul, as I type this.
No, I wasn’t going to write about September 11, 2001 but I am thankful for my husband that I was afraid I might have lost that morning, my daughters who have been born since that day, for my friends in New York who made it through that day with their lives and survived the devastation that losing their friends, family members and loved ones brought in those following days.
I am commemorating those unsuspecting people who lost their lives, the heroes who at the cost of their own lives kept going into the collapsing buildings to save others and those of us who have chosen not to be victims of that day but who joined together as a nation to overcome the heinous crimes inflicted upon us by a group of cowardice monsters.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of those families who lost someone that day and for the rest of us who survived it and must live with the pain and loss that September 11, 2001, has left in its wake. This is my story, we all have one.
I can very clearly remember the bright blue morning sky of September 11, 2001, as if it were yesterday. We were living in North Carolina, it was 2 weeks before my 29th birthday. We had only recently celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. My husband was away on business in Pennsylvania.
Per usual, I went to work, at a small publishing house, and the moment I walked in the door my editor silently motioned me over to the television to see what was happening. There we stood paralyzed, watching in shock and horror at the footage being shown on the television… of what was happening. Could this be real?
It couldn’t be real. It looked like some horrible action movie but it was live TV. It was the footage of flight 11 hitting the first tower. I remember my heart falling to the floor as I realized my husband was away from me on business. I couldn’t make sense of it. It was all happening so fast. We were being attacked on our own soil.
My husband, the other half to my whole, was in Pennsylvania, much too close to where everything was taking place. I tried to call him but all the phone lines to the east coast were jammed from terrified loved ones trying to reach their families in New York.
I distinctly remember the newscaster making the announcement and showing the footage of the south tower being hit by flight 175, as I was still trying to absorb the north tower being hit. Seeing the dark billowy puffs of smoke escaping from the rubble and the heartbreak of seeing the frightened and desperate people jump from the building, it was all I could do not to start driving in the general direction of where my husband was. All I wanted to do was hear my husband’s voice. I needed to know he was safe.
I couldn’t imagine the fear and thoughts going through the jumpers minds as they were forced to make that decision or the pain and sheer fright they must have felt being trapped in the collapsing towers. It must have felt like the world was ending. In many ways, it was.
Just imagine minding your business, doing your work and your entire life being snatched away. Your future, no longer an option. Knowing that you would never hold your baby, kiss your husband goodbye or tell them that you love them.
Then they made the announcement on the news that Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon. I held my breath once more and through tear filled eyes, continuously dialed my husband’s number on the cell phone. I had to reach him, somehow.
Then the announcement that Flight 93 went down very near where my husband was at on business. I dialed and dialed ( as I know many people were trying to do ) until my fingers were cramping from pushing the buttons. But the phone lines were all down due to what was happening and all the calls trying to be made by scared families trying to reach their loved ones, just like me. Everyone was trying to make sure that their loved one was not in or near the buildings hit. We all just wanted to hear the voice, to have the reassurance that our loved one was safe. I remember being there at work, watching helplessly as my world was collapsing. An entire generation of American people lost our safety and security, our trust and innocence. We thought we were untouchable on our own soil but the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 made us realize just how vulnerable we were. I stayed at work that very long day with my boss because I was 10 hours away from my nearest relative and going home to our empty apartment waiting for him to call me meant sitting there alone with my thoughts…with my fears.
My husband was there…nearer to the situation than I would ever want. I thank God every day that he wasn’t in New York that morning. Eventually, he called me. It seemed an eternity waiting for that call to come. I remember thinking..this is it..this is the day my world could come to a screeching halt. It did in a way. My life was changed forever, as were the lives of every American. I will never feel safe again. Not completely.
Every time someone I love gets on a plane, I hold my breath until they land safely. I’ve not been on a plane since this happened and I am sure that when I do, there will be an inordinate amount of anxiety. When the phone call finally came that my husband was OK, hearing his voice on the other end was one of the greatest moments of relief that I have ever experienced in my life. I had never been so thankful for my blessings and for the simple things such as my husband’s smile across a crowded room, his laughter ringing out at the most inappropriate times or just the way he says my name. I will never take those things for granted ever again.
Osama Bin Laden is dead and I’m glad. I won’t make apologies for being glad that he is gone. I feel that we are all a little freer from the tyranny of terrorism that we have been under for the past 10 years. My heart still aches for all the wives who lost their husbands, children who lost their parents, parents who lost their children and anyone who lost a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or even just someone who smiled at you on the street every day or as you passed in the building.
Their smiles, voices, laughter, and existence will be missed and felt by many. Their ripple is great and every moment is more precious to me now because I know that any moment can be the last. I now know the unconditional love that a parent feels for a child, I know the unbreakable path between a couple, so close that you don’t know where one begins and the other ends, and I can imagine the unfulfillable void and pain that losing that would cause.
I’ve been holding on to these feelings for a long time. I’ve had them wrapped up tight in a small little box, hidden away far back in the recesses of my soul because I didn’t want to think about how vulnerable we
were are. I was afraid that if I allowed myself to feel those feelings, it might be too much. I was dreading today because I wasn’t ready to dig that box out and open it up. But we owe it to those we lost, the mothers, fathers, friends, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, the heroes who ran in when everyone was running out on September 11, 2001 to #NeverForget!