Thursday, September 11, 2008

How I Remember 9/11/2001

In 2001 I was a real estate agent and a stay-at-home mom. My son Connor was 4 years old and he was home with me getting started with our day. He was watching cartoons on a cable channel and playing in the living room as I was getting dressed in the bedroom. The girls were both at their schools-Taylor was in 7th grade and Carley in 3rd. Rodney was working 3rd shift so he wasn't home from work yet. It was a normal day for us. That soon changed as it did the world. Time stood still that day as we watched in horror the unbelievable events happen one right after another.

I wasn't aware of anything going on until my mom called me-which she did when Columbine and the Oklahoma bombing happened as well. At this point we really didn't understand the magnitude of the situation so all I heard was a plane has hit the World Trade Center-I thought, how weird is that? I turned on the TV in the bedroom-and starting watching what had already unfolded. It was unfathomable, but at this point no one, even the news anchor was suggesting that this was a planned act of evil. A plane had hit one of the towers-I kept thinking how could this happen. Rodney came home shortly and had already heard on the radio what had occurred.

We sat together in the bedroom and watched- we watched... and as if in slow motion through live footage we see the shadow of another plane then it appears and flies right into the other tower. Our minds could not comprehend what had just happened-we started trying to figure out what could possibly be going on-but both realizing at the same time these acts were deliberate. But why??? I remembered that years prior while watching "Donahue" seeing people who worked in the World Trade Center coming on the show live talking about there being a bomb. I realized as did Rodney in a split second what had just happened on American soil, but we didn't have the mindset back then to know human beings were capable of such acts of destruction and indifference to so many lives lost for a cause or agenda in our country.

The news stations were all going crazy with reports-I sat and cried. I don't ever remember being so afraid and confused. I was so much in shock about the possible loss of lives, never imagining that the number would be so great. My heart was heavy knowing that there were innocent people on those planes and in those buildings that were so tall.So many people! So many questions about what would happen next- we watched it all, the people yelling out the windows, people jumping, the firefighters, EMS and police going into rescue lives, we saw each building collapse, we saw people running in the cloud of debris and dust, we saw the pentagon burning and the rescue efforts there, we followed the story of flight 93. We waited for the next strike to happen. Where would it be? So much was happening at the same time-which was the plan to cause fear,terror and confusion. We were glued to the TV-our country was under attack. I cried for my children and the world they were now living in-one more piece of innocence they knew was gone from the earth. I felt such a strong need to go and get the girls-I was in a panic that some how their schools were next. I wanted to protect them-to have all 3 of my babies with me, like it was the end of the world. I calmed down and rationally decided to leave them at school away from all the media coverage that was being shown over and over again. I put VHS Disney movie tapes in for Connor to protect him from from the horror as long as possible, but he does remember that day.

I tried to go about my day, but I was in a place where I couldn't make sense of any of it. Normal things like lunch and nap needed to happen. The phone rang and it was our vet.I was taken back by the idea someone was calling about something other than what we were seeing on TV. He was calling, doing his job. We had taken in my 14 year old cat a few days prior to be looked at-he had a mass on his neck. The vet was calling to tell me that my first baby-Spencer had cancer. I barely even recall speaking to the Dr. or asking questions-but as I listened to bad news it all seemed surreal to what was going on in the world around me. I was trying to act normal, but this wasn't normal.

Later when it was time to pick up the girls-I was so thankful. I went to Taylor's school first. She knew what had happened and they had actually allowed them to watch some of the coverage. She had questions and I tried to answer them-but no one knew really what had happened and why. We went to Carley's school and she of course had no idea.They had left that up to the parents to handle, which was a blessing.I could explain to her in a way she would understand but not be scared-I hoped. Then it became obvious even in our little town in Kansas, that people were freaked out. The gas stations had really long lines, the grocery store was super busy-it was crazy!There was the feel of panic in the air. I took the kids to the video store to pick out movies so they weren't bombarded all evening with the details and footage of what was happening and had happened.

The media coverage for me became an obsession-I followed the news late into the night and for many days to come. There were two things I had the hardest time wrapping my mind around-the fact that there wasn't anything recognizable from the buildings on the ground, nor were there many people being rescued nor were their bodies- most everything just evaporated and was gone. The other item was when they told us days later how long it would take to clean up the site-I don't remember the exact time frame, but it blew my mind. I still cannot fully understand the magnitude of what happened, I can't believe it is 7 years later, it still gives me a knot in my stomach and a sick feeling.
I didn't know anyone personally in the planes or in the buildings.I have read many books and articles. My heart goes out to those that did lose someone or more even than just a single person-some lost entire parts of their family.The grief must at times be unbearable. On the anniversary of this horrific tragedy,a day that will forever be etched in our history-I am sad for familiesand friends, I am mad for them... Their worlds changed beyond what I will ever hopefully know.

Mine changed with the loss of innocence,a different outlook on how quickly life can change, a new awareness of my surroundings,a new understanding of what is terrorism, a few inconveniences at the airport, the realization that something like this could happen anywhere at anytime, knowing war was something that my kids were going to know in their lifetime, that I was never going to see the NY skyline the way it should still be and that 9/11 was the day my husband started considering going back into the army. He did go in and was wounded in the war but when I look at it in perspective we are so blessed. Our loved one came home.

I just wanted to recognize this day-because we should never forget the lives lost nor the act of evil by terrorists. There were too many lives lost and too many lessons learned. For me there will always be the before 9/11 and after 9/11.

What were you doing that day 7 years ago?

Trying to Keep Imagining!

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