Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Memory

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? Do you remember what you were doing? Do you remember how you felt when you heard the news? If you got up early enough, you might have heard that a plane exploded in New York City. And later that they thought it might have purposely flown into the World Trade Center. You might have actually heard or watched the second plane. You might have wondered when they announced the third plane, hitting the Pentagon, if it was the end of the world.

I did.

I was getting ready for work when I turned on the news to get the weather report. The second plane had just hit the World Trade Center and no one knew what was going on. Then, as I watched, they announced the plane that hit the Pentagon and we all knew this was no accident. This was a deliberate attack on our country! In my whole life, I had never heard of anyone attacking America. People who were alive for Pearl Harbor are the last people who can remember a direct attack on this country. It shocked me. I just stared at the TV wondering who could do this, and who/what place would be next.

I had planned on taking Trax (the light rail train) to work that day instead of driving. But suddenly I was worried that public transportation was a bad idea. Would trains get taken over by terrorists? Would they explode or derail? Was Salt Lake even a target? We just didn't know. I didn't think it was likely, but one hour before I didn't think the possibility of a plane blowing up the Pentagon was likely either.

I drove to work. Things were strange. Instead of teaching my regularly planned lessons, my students and I listened to live-streaming news on my laptop. We talked about what was going on. Some kids cried. We all got on our cell phones and called our loved ones to make sure they were OK.

It was a strange, surreal, awful day. And I can remember it exactly even now. I can remember where I was, how I felt, what went through my head...everything slowed down and was imprinted forever on my brain. I couldn't turn off the radio or the TV all day and for several days after. We all hoped and prayed that more people would be found alive in the World Trade Center wreckage. We waited. In vain.

I still think of that day a lot. I watch shows about 9/11 every time they come on, trying to make sense of it, trying to understand what it must have been like for the people in the buildings, for the people on the planes, for the families of the loved ones who died. But it still, 9 years later, seems totally unreal that this could have happened. HOW does something like that happen? To US?

Anyway, I just wanted to put my thoughts down on paper. I can't remember a day in my life--except maybe the day my father died--that has affected me so deeply. It still haunts me.

Do you remember what you were doing that day? Please share your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

I was riding in my carpool to junior high. One of the boys said a plane had hit the World Trade Buildings.

I had no idea what those buildings were, or the severity of what he meant, or anything, and I was dumb, so my first reaction was, "Cool." (I'm ashamed of it.)

Then that guy started yelling at me and I didn't understand why. He made me upset.

Finally my band teacher (or was it someone in band class?) explained it to me and I realized how serious it was. I felt detached, but I understood. The real gravity of the event didn't strike me until later.

Anonymous said...

Spam is dumb. Someone recently got hold of my email and I get messages about how to enlarge my penis daily. It's really annoying.

I don't mind the pass-words at all. Sometimes they give me name ideas for characters. ^_^

Alyssa said...

I remember every single detail of that day from what I was wearing to crazy details like walking into my bedroom to get the phone sitting in the middle of my bed and the exact outfit I was wearing and how I kept wondering if I would need to go to work (my office was 2 blocks away and I was simply dazed about it all for several hours). But what sticks with me the most and always reminds me of that day is the absolutely perfectly blue, cloudless sky over NYC. The wind blew all of the smoke from the towers south toward Brooklyn so after the towers both fell the only thing strange was this sort of free Tuesday where everyone was walking around the City offering half-smiles of comfort to one another as we searched for a way to help and also a way to get away from all the pain on tv. Oh, and the big gaping empty space in the skyline. So strange to remember how perfect the weather was. And how empty the streets were - no cabs, just giant earth moving machines driving down Broadway.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Financial Aid for College said...

I was walking between the classes I taught at Southern VA University when someone asked, "Did you hear about the planes crashing into the New York World Trade Center?

I immediately turned and ran back to the office of one of the other teachers who was watching it on their computer or TV (can't remember which, only the full-color screen, playing the crashes over and over.) I absolutely couldn't take it in. I thought it must be some kind of pretense, or national security test, or something like the radio broadcast of "War Of The Worlds" back in the '30s, which so many people thought was live news.

But after watching it over and over, I knew it was real. I was stunned! Dumbfounded! How could anyone do this? How? How? I could not get my head around the concept. I was equally touched later when I saw the dram-U-mentary of the plane where the passengers took over and made the plane crash before it hit the white house. Calling their loved ones and saying goodbye. Knowing they must die with only minutes of notice in order to save other lives, and maybe our country. I still tear up at the thought.

Those of us who are older, born before 1953, remember the horror of watching on TV while President Kennedy was shot in the head before the camera. Watching while Lindon Johnson took the oath of office on Airforce 1 with Jackie Kennedy holding the Bible. Seeing the blood on her pink and navy suit, and the stunned, grim determination on her face. That was more up close and personal.

And the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My Dad tells me how stunned and horrified he was to hear of it the next day because he had the radio off on Sunday. He wept. Tens of thousands of men enlisted in the Service that Monday, knowing it meant war.

Time will tell which of those and other events most shaped the future direction of our world.

Thanks for reminding us, Arianne.

bel said...

I was 5 months pregnant with my first daughter and I remember wondering what I was doing bringing a baby into a world where terrible things like that could happen. I also remember being annoyed when my stomach rumbled at 10:15, like it did every day during my pregnancy. I couldn't imagine eating but I had to!

Heather said...

My daughter was 3 weeks old and as I held her and nursed her and recovered from childbirth I just sat on the couch all day and watched the news. Absolutely dumbfounded at the events. Long enough that my oldest who was 3 at the time, wanted to know if we could watch sesame street instead of that "plane hitting the building movie" over and over.

That and trying to get ahold of my parents on the phone (I am from DC) to see if they were okay. No calls were going through, so I just worried about them all day, not that they worked at the pentagon, but still we were close enough. The phones were so tied up the phone company was letting people record a message to their loved ones and then they'd send it out to them as the phone lines opened up. Relief!

Mia said...

I was in my car on the way to school. I turned the radio on and the DJ's were trying to decide if it was a hoax or not. And then when the second tower got hit. oh. man. I actually still get shaky thinking about it all.