Sunday, September 11, 2011
Where Were You on 9/11/2001?
The first photo was taken before 9//11.
I was in CA, and got up early. My husband was on a business trip, but my son had to get up for work. I was planning to drive him. I watched TV, and saw the first tower in flames. My son joined me in front of the TV, and we watched in horror as the second tower was hit.
I got a frantic call from my mother in FL. She wondered if my brother-in-law was working in the Towers that day (his building was one of the surrounding ones). My mother couldn't reach my sister or brother in NY. But, I was able to get my sister. She didn't know where her husband was. I relayed messages back and forth from NY to FL.
For eight hours, there was no word about my brother-in-law. Finally, he was able to call my sister. He'd been in his building, filmed some of what happened (works in photography), and walked along one of the bridges to catch a train ride home. When he arrived at the station, my sister said he was in shock and didn't realize that he was covered in dust. He's seen terrible things...dead people, people jumping from the towers, the collapse of the Towers.
One thing he mentioned is the ferries that took people from that area to NJ. Barriers were torn down to allow more ferries. People were anxious but civil. He took footage of this, and let me view his films/photos. By the ferries, you can hear people saying, "Women and children first" and I could see women being rushed to the front and kids being lifted to the bow of the ferry. Strollers were taken and passed along to the front, too.
My brother watched with the same sadness we all felt. He'd worked on the building of the Towers for a summer job while in college. As a teacher on Long Island, he knew children who lost parents that day.
It was my daughter's 26th birthday, and I called her at work as soon as I saw what had happened. She hadn't heard about the towers. And for years, she didn't celebrate her birthday on 9/11.
My husband ended up being stranded without plane travel existing. He and others thought about renting/buying a car and driving from KS to CA, but decided to stay put. They were needed at Sprint. Sprint had a hell of a time trying to keep up with phone lines/connections working throughout their system in the NY area. He returned home when flights were allowed to take off days later. He mentioned how strange his first flight was, with extra scrutiny of passengers...and one man being taken off the plane. My husband went through long passenger approval steps...and this is a man who had top security clearance when he worked at the White House for 7 years.
I remember walking outside and seeing some neighbors all with the same look of shock on their faces. I told them (at that time) that we didn't know if my brother-in-law had been inside the Towers, something he did on a fairly routine basis. One neighbor had her own story of a relative who worked occasionally in the Towers. Luckily, both our family members were spared.
The horror that day of the Towers collapsing, the Pentagon being hit, and the plane crash in PA, will long live in our memories. It changed us. It humbled us. We were vulnerable, right here "at home". Definitely an eye-opener for all of us.
I visited the Towers site a few years later. My brother-in-law came with me, and told his story as we walked around the area. All but the first photo and the last two were taken at that time.
The last photos were taken in Nov. 2001 at the New York, New York Casino in Las Vegas. Along the fence, people placed flags, tee shirts and hats as a makeshift memorial. And, no one spoke aloud along the whole distance of sidewalk fence line...only whispers could be heard.
I flew a week after 9/11 to visit family. People stared at each other in the eerily quiet terminal. I got through my security check, and watched in a sad, humorous way as celebrity "Hulk Hogan" was randomly chosen to go through an extra security check in front of everyone. No one would be exempt from going through extra security measures.
I've told my story. Would you like to share yours?