This day is one of reverence and remembrance. No one will ever forget where they were or what they were doing when the monstrous attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred. I am no different.
Firstly, I will always remember what a beautiful crisp clear day it was.
I had just started my job with my current company. My boss and I had flown to Baltimore the day before, for a trade show. We were out late the the previous evening, schmoozing potential clients. That morning I awoke in my hotel room and turned on the TV. A Sandra Bullock movie was on, (28 Days) so I stuck with that, enjoying real cable TV for a change, and a cigarette. I gazed out the window at the perfect weather. We were to attend the trade show that day and fly out that evening. We had no idea what the day held for us.
As I walked into the lobby to meet my boss for our free continental breakfast, I heard screaming. I couldn’t make out what the woman was saying at first, but I heard her say “world trade center” and “airplane”. I didn’t think much about it, to tell you the truth. I thought some numbnut must have crossed into the wrong airspace with his Cessna 150. I kept walking. I got to my boss’s table and joined him as he was finishing his coffee and English muffin.
“Can you believe this shit”? he said, pointing to the lobby television. The news was broadcasting the collision of American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center. “Holy crap!”, I said. “So that’s what that woman was yelling about at the front desk”. We sat in silence riveted to the screen and subsequently watched in unbeliveable horror as the United Airlines Flight 175 approached and crashed into the second tower. I remember that I thought I was going to throw up. My brain could not process what my eyes had just witnessed. This isn’t a movie. That was not the work of special effects. All of those people on that plane just died in front of me.
I can liken it to witnessing the Challenger tragedy, somewhat. First, disbelief, and then an all encompassing sadness and terror. This was a much grander scale, however, something we had never witnessed before.
Tim and I stared in disbelief at each other. There were ever-changing conflicting reports coming in right and left and we were unsure as to what our next move should be. Planes are grounded. More planes are going down. People are JUMPING out of windows. (I still to this day cannot watch that footage. It makes my blood go cold.) Buildings are collapsing. The Mayor of Baltimore made up our mind for us. They decided to evacuate the downtown area, because of the proximity to Washington, DC. I have never been evacuated from anywhere before. It made me uncomfortable and edgy. No one had any answers.
We wisely decided to keep our rental car since there were no flights going anywhere that day. It took us some time to get out of the city, as everyone else had the same inclination. Over the course of the next 13 hours, we drove home to Tennessee from Baltimore, Maryland. We listened to the radio nonstop, which was exhausting. We both tried to process what was happening. I was very lucky to be in Tim’s company. Tim is one of the calmest, most level headed persons I know. He kept me from panicking and kept me from losing my mind, certainly. He assured me almost every half hour that everything was going to be okay. He let me borrow his cellphone to call my Mom and let her know that I was alright and my way home.
I may have been in my thirties, but that day made me want my Mommy.
He pulled up to my driveway around 2am on September 12th. He told me it was okay if I was a *little* late the next morning. Seriously.
I threw my bags on my living room floor and turned on the TV.
OH. MY. GOD.
Remember, I only watched the second plane hit the towers, and then wisely we hit the road. I had not witnessed what everyone else in America had been watching all day. All the terrible images of that day. The towers collapsing. People jumping. People screaming and crying. People HOLDING HANDS and jumping. Oh, God. It was gut wrenching and I sat motionless on my couch watching the days events unfold yet again, and sobbed.
I will never forget that day. I will never, ever, forget that almost 3,000 people got up that morning just like I did today. They showered, they got dressed and some had some breakfast, perhaps. They said goodbye to their loved ones and went to work. Just like you and I do every day. And on that day, almost 3,000 people did not come home. They will never see their parents, their children, their friends or their pets ever again. One minute they were tying their shoes and brushing their teeth and 3 hours later they were hurling themselves out of a sky scraper.
I salute the dead, the survivors and the heros of that day. I was a little wishy washy at first on even posting about this topic. Hey, remember China had a huge earthquake a few months ago? What about the Tsunami? Katrina? Horrible tragic events occur and the world keeps on spinning, I realize that. But I for one won’t let this day pass without prayers and an somber acknowledgement. I have the utmost respect and humility for those who were there that day. Those who lost someone. Those who were lost. Those who still have not recovered. Those who are still waiting for someone to open the front door and just come home.
There are no words. Just prayers.