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 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.