Saturday, September 12, 2015

Where We You When the World Stopped Turning?

I meant to write this post yesterday but it turned out to be too emotionally draining of a day. Even 14 years later, thoughts of 9/11 and the lives lost affects me and I spent much of the day in tears or fighting tears.  

Anyone of us over a certain age remembers exactly what they were doing after a specific time on 9/11.  That moment when you realized that the first plane wasn't an accident but instead that our country and our way of life was under attack.  We remember that exact moment as if it were happening this very moment; we've relived it for 14 years now.  

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

For me, I was sitting at my computer, getting ready for another day of college.  I was in my first year of respiratory school.  My daughter was 2 at the time. I had already gotten her ready for another day at day care and she was happily eating breakfast and playing with some toys.  The morning news show was playing in the back ground on the tv and I was paying very little attention to it until they reported breaking news out of NY - a plane had just hit the North Tower of the World Trade center. Nobody knew what was happening at that moment - did the plane malfunction? Did the pilot have an emergency rendering him unable to fly?  Less than 20 minutes later, we knew the truth when the second plane hit the South Tower.  We were under attack.

I remember grabbing my daughter, loading her up in our car and heading to my then husbands work. A member of the US Army, he worked at an airport owned and operated by the military.  I knew that I would be able to get answers for what was going on there before I would at home.  After passing through security, we watched in his unit's breakroom as events unfolded.  We watched as people jumped from the buildings, facing their inevitable death on their own terms rather than on those dictated by terrorists.  We watched as the towers collapsed and knew the loss of life was going to be high.  

At this time, everything went high alert.  Living in the Houston area, the military was scrambling because there was fear that the Williams tower might be a possible target.   I was asked to leave and so I brought my daughter to day care and headed to my college classes, all the while listening to the latest developments on the radio during my 45 minute drive.

As a class, we were all in shock. Our instructors weren't around, just the students. We kept the lights in the room at a dim as most of of our eyes were rimmed red and hurt from crying.  It was quiet, only occasionally we would talk about what was going on, what it all meant.  We prayed, we cried, we each died a little bit.   Twenty minutes later, one of our instructors came in and told us class was cancelled for the rest of the week.   And like most of the country, we went home and we sat in front of our TV sets for days, watching and praying for a miracle for survivors, prayers for the rescuers and saying prayers for those lost.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

It's 14 years later and that harrowing experience lives with many of us. The loss of life totaled 2,977 people of all walks of life.  It could have been much worse but God's hand was involved in guiding many of those inside to safety.  My daughter is too young to remember that day, was too young when it happened to understand anything about what was happening. She was lucky enough to live in a world of innocence, if only in her mind. To her, 9/11 is an event she learns about in history books or in a documentary. My other two children weren't even alive at the time and they also will never understand the feeling of knowing our way of life was forever altered.  They currently live in a world where we stand divided among ourselves and will never know how it was to unite under President Bush, even if that unity was temporary.  They will not feel the pride in their hearts listening to a video of Bush telling the rescue workers "I can hear you... I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." People may criticize Bush but he always had the American people in his heart and I cannot imagine any other man in office at the time.

And I know that 20 years from now, the pain will be just as raw as it was then and as it was yesterday.  

Where we you when the world stopped turning?

1 comment:

  1. Great post, my friend. My husband had stayed home from work that morning to take me to the ob-gyn b/ c I was bleeding, in the 3rd month of my pregnancy with our boy. (It had been horrible but had gotten much better, but the doc wanted me to be seen.) My best friend had left a voice mail saying, "I've got family in NY and Chicago, I'm sure you do too," and we had no idea what she was talking about, til we turned on the tv. Our generation will never forget that day, will we? We could not look away. Still so proud of the brave ones on Flight 93.


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