Sept. 11, 2001
Today is a horrific day. Hard to believe when you wake up to such brilliant blue skies and such peace only to discover others were in the midst of terror. We are visiting my parents in Houston and as I turn on the TV, just as my Dad is walking out the door the sight of the WTC towers on fire fills the screen. My Dad and I watched horrified as the second plane was caught on video and sharply careened into the tower.
"That is a passenger plane!" my Dad shouts as he watches the video.
We would find out later it was, both planes, full of innocent people. The anguish just about brings me to my knees. I can't help but think the world as I've known it is gone and tomorrow will bring us into a new era...
I can't understand this tragedy. I can't wrap my brain around it to sort it all out. But who can? Such a senseless act, causing so much death and despair. And yet almost a week later I realize how many life lessons will come out of this shroud of death. That even in death there is life. Those gone from this world will be deeply missed and yet we will continue to learn from them. They will not be forgotten. And faith comforts us by telling us they are at eternal peace. After their terrible suffering they no longer feel the pain. That will be the burden we must carry.
These two entries came from my journal from 2001. I remember that day vividly. I was over ten hours away from my husband while visiting my parents. Holding my 1 1/2 year old daughter I turned on the morning news. The house was eerily quiet as my Mom and Dad had already left for work. Suddenly the room was filled with sirens and the sight of a building on fire as the screen came to life. I stared blankly, not understanding what I was seeing. The first plane had already hit one Twin Tower. The plane that crashed into it, I immediately assumed had suffered some terrible malfunction that allowed in to careen so off course. I picked up the phone to call my Dad and tell him what had happened. Then another plane crashes into the other tower. My Dad is asking me questions that I don’t have the answers to and I suddenly feel as if ice water is running through my veins. He tells me he’s close to home and he’s coming back.
The rest of the morning passes in a blur as the words passenger planes, hijackers, and terrorists are repeated over and over. My Dad and I scramble to get in touch with family. My sister’s building downtown is being evacuated along with all the others. My mother is at the hospital safe, but wishing she were home. My husband’s parents are in Prague and we worry about them being so far away. My Aunt and Uncle live right by the Pentagon, but are fine.
The skies go silent over my parent’s house and the only sounds from the air are the F-16’s that are patrolling the skies over the next few days. I hug my child a little closer as we watch them streak across the sky. I never imagined that some day I’d be walking through my parent’s neighborhood while fighters flew over, making sure we were safe.
Nor did I ever imagine life would ever be the same, and in a lot of respects it isn’t. But life does go on. Almost a month to the day I find out I’m pregnant with my second daughter. The planes eventually took to the airways again as the fighters disappeared from the clouds above. And I’m left with the feeling that I’m responsible for telling my daughters the story of 9/11, just like my parents’ told of Vietnam, and my grandparents’ WWII.
Just like the quote on my 7th grade teacher’s wall, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
Where were you on 9/11?
*I shared my story along with many others a year after 9/11 on a webpage dedicated to sharing memories about this event. You can find it at http://www.storycircle.org/sorrow.html