Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 . . . I remember

The events of 9/11 will be forever etched in my mind--as I am sure they are in yours.  You probably remember exactly where you were when you first heard or saw what happened.  I had a 3 year old and a one year old then.  I had just gotten out of the shower and was running late to get to a play day at the park when the phone rang.  It was Ben.  It was about 9 a.m. our time, so about 10 a.m. in New York.  He said, "Have you heard about the plane that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City?"  No,  we didn't (and still don't) have TV, so I hadn't heard or seen anything.  He said, "Turn on the radio." and then he had to go.  So, I turned on the radio.  I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and just being shocked by what I heard.  They just got the report of the 2nd plane about the time I turned on the radio.  When Ben first called I was thinking--how horrible--did the pilot fell asleep or the plane malfunctioned, but then I head there was a 2nd and that this was not an accident.  I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and trying to process this as my 1 year old toddled in and my 3 year old asked what was wrong as tears fell down my cheeks.  What do I say?  "A plane crashed, sweetie, and lots of people were hurt."  Then she asked me "Where there any kids on the plane?"  And I cried more and hugged her and said, 'Yes, honey, there were probably kids on the plane."  I called my Mom at work.  She is a librarian at an elementary school.  She had the TV on in the library, and we both cried on the phone.  What was happening?  This seemed unreal.  Somehow I got the 2 kids in the car and headed to the park where I was late for our play date.  I remember walking up to my 4 friends at the park and asking them if they had heard the news.  They hadn't.  I remember feeling so distant as I told my 4 friends about planes purposely hitting buildings and the Pentagon at this point on a beautiful sunny, cool September morning.  There was a slight breeze as I looked up into the trees and at the blue sky and said thought to myself--how can this be happening?  I am in a beautiful, calm, peaceful place--I was pushing my kids on the swings, my kids are happy and playing, but all this senseless death and destruction are occurring this minute, what can I do?  We played at the park, came home, had lunch, the girls went down for a nap, and I listened to the radio some more.  It was mind boggling.  We were being attached?  How could that be?  How could this happen?  We were invincible.  I remember when Ben got home that night we just hugged and held each other close for a long time, and I cried and cried.  We went over to my parents that night and for the first time I saw the images of what had happened.  I was physically sick.  I had always felt safe my whole life.  I had never, ever felt threatened or in danger.  I thought we had the best and strongest country in the world.  Nothing could ever attack us--no one was dumb enough to threaten us.  What had happened?  We had some friends in New York state, and even though they didn't live near the Twin Towers, we knew he worked near them.  I e-mailed them, and it took several days before we heard all was well.  That was a blessing.  What a day I will never forget, and I was thousands of miles away from the event--didn't know anyone personally killed or directly involved, but I was affected--my life was affected as every American's was by the events of that day.  The month before we had taken our 3 year old and 1 year old on a plane to California to Disneyland.  I remember thinking how glad I was we had done that before 9/11 because I didn't think I could take my kids on a plane again for a long, long time.  It is important to remember.  It is important to remember we still have a great country made great by the people who have lived and do live here--the people who work and serve others here--the people who care.  Today I honor and remember those people who cared and served and who continue to care and serve so I can live free and enjoy my life and family.  God bless America, and may we always remember and teach our children to do so also.

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