Saturday, September 11, 2010
Remembering 9/11 - Where Were You?
9/11. That day will forever remain in our minds as the day our world changed. Gone was the comfortable feeling of safety here in the United States. Our country had been invaded by sinister fanatics, bent on ripping a hole in the hearts of Americans everywhere.
But, those misguided fools also roused the anger of other nations.
Too many innocent people died that day, from all walks of life, all ages, all religions, and from all countries. And, what was gained by the religious zealots whose only thoughts were to kill? Instead of watching the US crumble and shake from fear, they created a feeling of anger, solidifying our resolve to rid the world of terrorists.
I was living in CA. My husband was on a business trip. My son, then just out of the Marines, was living with us. It was early, but I'd gotten up and turned on the news.
Like many across the world, I watched in horror on TV as planes hit targets in the US. I called my husband in Kansas City. He'd already heard and, since he worked for Sprint, they were frantically trying to make sure phone connections worked. I woke my son, and together we watched the day unfold as over three-thousand lives were lost.
I called my mother in FL. She was very upset. My brother-in-law worked in the Merrill Lynch building that stood near the World Trade Center Twin Towers but was always in and out of the those two buildings. My mother couldn't get through to my sister in NY.
I called my sister and managed to get her. She was frantic. Couldn't reach her husband. Couldn't get anyone, but I somehow managed to contact her. I called my mother back and told her my sister was okay, but we didn't know where my b-i-l was.
I called my daughter in Kansas at work. They hadn't heard and immediately turned on a TV. As an afterthought, I told my daughter, "Happy Birthday"...it was her 26th birthday.
I called a second daughter in Kansas and talked to her. In between these calls, I kept calling my sister and mother. They couldn't contact each other, but I could.
After 6 long hours, my sister heard from her mother-in-law. My b-i-l had been able to call and said he was okay, walking along a bridge, and would take a train home. I got the message from my sister, called my mother, my husband, and daughters.
I also spoke to my brother, a teacher on Long Island. The schools were dealing with panicked kids and adults. He knew children who lost a parent that day, and others who lost a family member or friend.
My brother worked on the building of the Twin Towers as a summer job while in school. He also couldn't contact my sister but I relayed messages to him.
My brother-in-law hadn't said much about that day. My sister said he'd gotten off the train covered in dust, but didn't seem to realize it. He'd taken her to the site after it happened, and two years later offered to show my husband and me because he said, "You understand."
It was eerie to see what had happened. He told us what he'd been doing, how he and fellow film crew members took some photos and video (some were shown on news channels)...and how he saw people jump from the burning towers. He was eager to tell us, and we were happy to listen and provide an outlet for him.
He showed us the dock area near the Twin Towers where ferries crossed to New Jersey...the Statue of Liberty stood clearly visible in the water. On 9/11, people didn't panic; they tore down barriers so more ferries could dock and take people. Video he showed us clearly shows people helping each other to board, and the calm but distinct shouting of "Women and children first" could be heard. We saw baby strollers being lifted above heads to get them on ferries as mothers carried their babies onboard.
Rather than take a ride to New Jersey, he opted to walk, cross a bridge with others as shown on TV channels, and took a train home.
My husband couldn't get a flight back to CA. He and coworkers considered buying a car and driving, and then decided just to wait. When he could fly home, he had to fly into San Diego instead of Los Angeles. I didn't care. I drove the extra time to get him.
His flight was interesting...eerily quiet for the two planes he needed to board. And, lots of security...which he also had to go through even though he'd had a top security clearance from working at the White House for 7 years.
My daughter didn't celebrate her birthday on 9/11 for a few years, and then we all agreed that she should celebrate her day. Something terrible happened and would always be remembered, but it was still a day for birthdays and anniversaries, and sharing some happy times.
I flew two weeks after we could fly again, and remember how quiet the airports were; how quiet it was during flights...and how everyone stared at each other.
We went to Las Vegas in November 2001, and witnessed the hanging shirts, signs, hats, etc., on the fence surrounding the New York, New York Casino. People suddenly became very quiet while walking outside around this casino...in deep thought, remembering what had happened only a couple of months before.
Where were you on 9/11? Everyone has a story...tell us yours.
Always remember...never forget the tragedy and the reason why Freedom Isn't Free. God Bless Our Troops!
All but one photo are ones I took. One is from Flickr: TRiver's photostream.