9/11 – The Day that Brought Our Nation to Its Knees – If Only for a Moment
I thought about going through the day today without mention of 9/11, but I just couldn’t do it. For the past 10 years, I’ve approached September with apprehension. I know what I’m going to feel and though I dread it, I’m oddly content with the fact that I still feel the pain. It means that I haven’t lost my humanity.
My Memories of 9/11
My mother and I had been in New York during two days before to get my nieces and bring them back with us while my sister packed up her things for the move home. Although our flight left on the night of the 10th to fly back home, no one knew my flight schedule but me, my mother, my sister and my grandmother. No one else knew if I was on one of those planes that morning. They just knew I was due home that morning.
My boyfriend was at work and 160 ft. in the air when his boss, Terry, radioed for him to come down immediately. He knew I was in New York and that I was due home that day. Today, the now father of my child breaks down and cries when September 11th rolls around. He thought he’d never see me again. My father, not one to show much emotion, also feared the worst.
My plane flew into Lambert Airport at 12:38 am on 9/11 and I was home in my bed by 1:45 am that morning. I was scheduled to work on 9/11 at 10 am, but I had told my supervisors that I may have to call off if things changed while I was in New York, so even they weren’t sure about me until I walked through the door to clock in. I woke up late at 8:15 and rushed into the shower. I had left my television on the night before. When I walked into the living room, I saw the screen. The first plane had hit and they were speculating that it was a small private plane. Then I watched in shock as a second plane flew into the other tower. That moment made it very clear that we were under attack. I called my mom and grandmother to tell them to turn on the television, that something horrible had happened and that I would call them later. I tried to call my dad, but his line was busy. I didn’t call my boyfriend because I knew he was working and not in his hotel room. I hurriedly threw myself together and rushed off to work.
Every single year, I think back to coming home from work that day and listening to my answering machine. The messages from my father, my boyfriend and my friends; listening to the fear in their voices as they begged me to pick up the phone. Coming home to hear those messages was heartbreaking because I felt horrible that they were worried about me, but I also felt the despair because I knew I was hearing what so many others were experiencing. In that moment, I understood what so many people were feeling when they tried desperately to get in touch with a loved one that was in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or someone on one of those four fateful flights. I remember leaning against the wall and just slowly sliding down it until I was sitting in the floor, balling my eyes out.
Why I Want to Remember September 11th
September 11th is a day that millions of us will dwell on for eternity. Whether it’s the memories of a loved one lost that day, remembering the fear that gripped our nation or the anger of the act itself, the date affects us all. I think it made us realize that even a Super Power is vulnerable. Though we weren’t accustomed to that feeling, I think it is important to remember what those feelings caused.
Think about our nation before September 11, 2001. We still had tragedy, hurt and heartache. There were instances of death and destruction, but on a much smaller scale. Before 2001, I had witnessed the acts of Good Samaritans before and had even taken part in these acts myself. Yet, never in my entire life have I witnessed an nation pull together so quickly to mourn and support each other until the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on our country. As tragic as this was for our nation, it made us more aware. It also brought us together and forced us to realize the things that were really, truly important.
Today, I ask that you please take 3 minutes of silence to recognize and honor those lost in the attacks on our nation, not only on September 11th, but the days following. I also encourage you to take a moment to tell the people you care about just how much you care about them. Give them a hug, hold them tight and be thankful that you have them. There are a lot of people wishing that their loved ones were still here to hug.