Where were you the morning of September 10, 2001? You don’t remember? That is funny, I don’t either. Frankly, who cares? That was 10 years ago…
Where were you at 5:46am PST on September 11, 2001? I bet you remember. I know I do. I was asleep. I was asleep until at exactly 5:52am when my dad burst into my room screaming “WAKE UP WE ARE UNDER ATTACK!”
What would you do if your father woke you up that way at 6 o’clock in the morning? At first I was bummed. I didn’t need awake up for a few hours and sleep was scarce and precious to me in those days. I remember that I didn’t have class that day. I was scheduled to fill in at Leatherbys for a few hours for my friend Christine and I needed to be there at 10:30 a.m.
You know what is surreal looking back? I worked with Derek that day. Those were the days when we weren’t on great terms with each other, but I spent the worst day in America’s history with my future husband. Does God know or what?
So I leapt out of bed and followed my dad as he ran upstairs to the television. At the time I was still unsure as to what he meant by “under attack” but he would not have acted that way if it wasn’t serious. My dad and I are very similar in that way; we are not prone to over-reaction.
As I came into view of the T.V I could see smoke pouring out of a tall building that was labeled on the screen as the World Trade Center in New York City. They were saying a plane had hit the building and weren’t really sure other then that what had happened.
I was 19 years old and I was so confused. Plane crashes happen all the time, why had my dad found this one particularly necessary to wake me up for? As I studied the screen, my face still screwed up in confusion and my mind attempting to clear the sleep away, from the side of the screen another airplane appeared.
It crashed. Another plane, another tower. How did my dad know? How did he know that this was no accident? How did he know that our nation was under attack and that in the next few hours we would face an onslaught of death and destruction of the likes we had never seen in our history?
I stood in stunned horror as I watched those buildings burn. I couldn’t bear to look away although the terror of what I was seeing should have been too much. There have been times in the last 10 years that I wish I had looked away. If I had looked away I wouldn’t have images of people willingly jump from 55 stories up because they didn’t want to burn to death.
I wish I could have closed my ears to the reports of how many people must have died in the planes and how many died as a result of impact. Little did I know that the worst was yet to come.
News came through that the buildings were starting to shake. Shake? What did that mean, SHAKE? It was only a few minutes before the entire world witnessed the destruction that was in store for America. Two strong towers, towers that represented the hub of our financial strength came crashing down like a child’s block tower. In a matter of seconds we lost thousands of lives.
Men. Women. Children. Firemen. Police.
I watched from my home on the west coast, seemingly out of any danger with tears pouring down my cheeks. I cried for the women who will never see their husbands again. I cried for the parents who will never see their precious babies again. I cried for the thousands of children who had just lost one of both of their parents. I cried for America.
I cried for the terrorists. I cried for the millions of men and women who believe that this was the answer and who were watching and rejoicing in our destruction. I cried because I didn’t know what else to do. SO many lives lost. For what? There has never been a time before then and there has never been a time since then that I have wept in anguish for people I did not know. I cried without ceasing for hours. Tears of fear. Tears of mourning.
It is hard to believe it has already been 10 years since that day. I got up and went to work; of course no one came to eat ice cream the day America was brought to its knees.
I am proud to say that 10 years later we are not on our knees. We are strong. We are united. We are America.
So today as I see flags flying, memorials laid out across the city and picture after picture of those who honor the lives lost, I might cry, in fact I might weep. I still think of the children who are growing up without parents. I wonder how they feel right now.
Today as I remember, as I cry, as I honor – I will do so with my head held high because I am so proud. I am proud of our country and I am proud that we have come together and that we will truly never forget.