The question on everyone’s mind today is “Do you remember where you were?” The short answer: Yes. The long answer: I’ll never forget where I was. I was home vacuuming when the Today show I was half ass watching was interrupted with them coming on live to report that they believed two airplanes had been hijacked.
I watched for several long minutes as they recounted what they believed had happened. I was talking on the phone with my mom who was at work and I was filling her and her co-workers in on what was going on. Then my alarm went off telling me I had to pick up my son from preschool. I picked him up then raced back home. Just after arriving my mom called me back asking me to bring her our portable TV so they could watch what was going on at work. I gathered up my three-year old, the little portable television and we headed out to my mom. At the time, she worked in a doctor’s office and they weren’t actually seeing patients that day because he (the doctor) was at a satellite clinic. So the office was empty except for her and one other lady.
The TV had only been on long enough for the newscasters to recount to those just tuning in what had happened. On my drive to her office a plane had flown into one of the World Trade center towers. The three of us watched in shock as camera crews filmed the burning hole the plane had made. It felt so surreal, almost like we were watching a movie. It couldn’t have been real. Then as we watched, another plane flew into view. The camera panned with it. I stood there, with my mother and her co-worker as my son played in the waiting area, in shock. The three of us looked back and forth between us.
“That didn’t just happen did it?”
I’m not sure who asked it first, but it was repeated by all of us at that point. We were certain it was just a replay of the first hit. It wasnt until the news crew came back on and explained it was a second hit that we realized it was real. Someone had just killed all those people. On purpose. All those people on the plane. All those people on those few floors. All the people just above and below the fires from the impact. Gone.
I remember the three of us standing there, crying. There wasnt anything else we could do but cry. I remember praying that all those people above the fires would get out safely. They would make it to the stairwells and make it down to the ground floor and get out. We all prayed for that end.
They never made it.
We watched as the second tower that was hit, fell. Our tears renewed themselves as we couldn’t believe it was falling. The only thing I could think about were all the people below. Were they safely, far enough away? Was the building empty of those that could get out?
We already know these answers to those questions. And I know I won’t soon forget.
I thank all who had and have given their lives, limbs and sanity to secure our freedom.