Monday, September 11, 2006

Don't ever forget...

I used to wonder at my parents who remember EXACTLY what they were doing when Kennedy was killed and when John Lennon was shot…how could they remember in that much detail??

I remember what I was doing when the Challenger blew up…for the most part. I was in 6th grade in Mr. Jarman’s class. But a lot of the memories have faded.

Not so with September 11, 2001. I remember it all. I always will.

The day started off with a little different routine than usual for us. We were living in Texas, I needed to take my car to the shop, and it was B’s normal day off, so the plan was for B to follow me to the shop and then take me to work. Everything went according to schedule, and I got to work about 7:45am. I was working in an assembly plant at the time, so I headed right to the floor when I got there.

A few minutes later B called my cell phone, and he told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I didn’t really understand at first what he was telling me, and then I didn’t really believe him. He said they thought it was a commercial airliner. The girls on the line where I was couldn’t leave the line, so they asked me to go get more information.

I headed back to my office and tried to get online, but the internet was jammed up. I kept trying and finally I found out that what B told me was true. I called him back and he told me a 2nd plane had just hit the other tower. We had a live feed for Fox News in our lobby, so I did what lots of others did and headed up front to see what was going on.

I called my parents, who were in California. They were awake but they didn’t know much about it yet. Dad is an Air Traffic Controller, and he had just gotten called in to work to assist with the grounding of all aircraft. It was really hard to be so far away from them right then. They felt like they were a world away, and at the time I was scared I might never see them again.

I didn’t cry…then…I was in too much shock. After the towers fell, there wasn’t a lot of new information, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the TV. I finally went back to the floor, told the girls what I’d found out, and then went back to my desk. I remember my boss was irritated with all of us for not working – we were all glued to the computer screens. I can’t believe he expected us to keep working. In my mind, the world was over as we knew it. I think if I would have had a car, I would have left work. I couldn’t see why we needed to keep working.

I have a girlfriend who works in Manhattan, and at the time I didn’t know how close she was to the towers. I sent her an email, not really expecting a reply, but I wanted to see how she was. She wrote back pretty quickly and told me she was a ways from the terror, and she was fine. It did take her a couple days to get back to her place in New Jersey.

Much to my boss’ dismay, I did not accomplish much that day. B picked me up after work, we picked up my car and we went home. We watched the news for a while, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. There was nothing new to report, and I couldn’t stand to see the footage from the towers, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. We finally took the dog and headed out for a walk. It was the first time we had ever done that. We held hands, tried to enjoy the outdoors, and we talked about what would happen now.

I really felt that the end of the world was upon us. I couldn’t see how I would EVER feel safe again. I realized how much my husband and my family meant to me, and I was sorry for all the time I’d wasted being angry or upset with them.

That Friday I went to a special prayer service at church. We sang songs and prayed silently and as a group. It helped me to realize that these terror attacks were not from God. They were from the Devil. They were orchestrated by evil people, and God was there to help us recover and to become a stronger nation in spite of what had happened to us.

I can’t believe it’s been 5 years. To me it really feels like it’s been much longer than that because we have settled back into our old ways. But...I cry every time I see footage on TV, or when Alan Jackson’s song plays, or when I read about it in a novel. I can’t bring myself to watch the movies that have come out. I don’t need that graphic of a reminder…I can see it inside my head often enough.

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