There has been so much on the TV this week about the events of 9/11. It’s gotten me thinking quite a bit about that day; about the days following.
There aren’t man days I could go into detail about if you asked me, “where were you…?”. My wedding, some Christmases and birthdays, a few key events, but that day will never go away in my memories.
I was still asleep, being the nightbird that I am. I got a call from a friend in Idaho telling me to turn on the TV FAST. My husband was still sleeping, he was working second shift at the time. I turned it on just after the first plane hit the tower. We watched in horror as the second plane came in and saw it hit the second tower. We sat there, speechless as the realization that this was not an accident hit home. Even the news had no idea until plane two came along. The shock and disbelief in the voices, the tears rolling down hardened news broadcasters faces, all made it that much worse. We’re used to the news being a calm voice on the ground for the most part; a voice unshakeable and stoic in the face of crisis.
I remember just holding onto my husband as if somehow he would be transported away from me, away from the safety of our little apartment. I didn’t want to let him go. The dog knew something terrible was going on and pushed into our arms and wouldn’t move an inch from us.
Then the news…the pentagon had been hit and there was a plane still missing somewhere in the skies above us. It could be anywhere. It must surely be heading for the white house! Or maybe a nuclear power plant! It felt as though we were being pummeled repeatedly with each new bit of information.
And then the tower fell, OMG.. that bastion of power and strength; a high rise tower. Seemingly impossible that they stand at all, but always there, always a constant, and it crumpled like tissue paper being wadded up. The deafening popping sound as the girders gave way. It sounded like bubble wrap; a horrible bubble wrap. Before we could catch our breaths, tower two came down. It was surely impossible! This all had to be a movie stunt, right? Orsen Wells revisited and updated, right?
Not being one who watches the news any more than I need to find out the weather, I sat riveted to the TV for days and days following. I could barely sleep because I kept waking up to see what had happened that I missed. There surely had to be some good news at some point.. someone found, a family reunited… something…
But there was precious little good news. They were clung to as if they were a lifesaver, saving you from the horror and consuming fear, loss and grief. To this day, I cannot hear the siren sounds of the rescue and firefighters alarms that they wear without feeling a residual grip of fear and a feeling of wanting to cover my ears with my hands and cry.
I remember crying… a lot…even though I didn’t know anyone there. I remember standing in a supermarket and watching people shop with tears on their faces. I remember the kindness and patience we all had for each other. Parking spaces, normally raced for, were given up with a sad smile and a wave. Couples held hands, watched their children with grateful, but saddened smiles as they ran around. The usual din of the markets, the malls, the stores, were quieted, almost hushed. It was as if by speaking too loud would be disrespectful to what was happening. An underlying current of fear that maybe “they” were coming here next.
And there was an air of restlessness…a “what can I do to help?” feeling. Eager to find some way to help, I remember packing things up to send in semi’s to ground zero. I remember the lists of items that were most needed. Food, water, paper goods, socks, underwear, toiletries, all for the responders.
In the 10 years since 9/11, I have never written about any of this. I jsut didn’t want to think of it except in anger; fury; revenge. Those emotions were easier to deal with. But reading someone else’s blog made me realize that I wanted to write these things down. I wanted to remember.
I can’t wait for my husband to come home so I can kiss him, hug him tightly and thank God that he is there…we are here…and pray for all who will never get to do those things again.