I know I’m not the only one who can recall exactly what I was doing on September 11, 2001. Usually I have a ton of conversations each year, discovering where my coworkers were and what their reactions were. Today I started a new position, so my focus was completely on learning new tricks to my new trade. I mean I knew what day it was, I gave it thought. But I didn’t connect with anyone about it. It wasn’t until I was driving home from work and saw the flags at half mast that I really took a moment to remember. We promised to never forget. But I can’t help but wonder if we are forgetting; or maybe it’s just me. I don’t want to forget, but last year I didn’t even post my traditional picture I took when I visited ground zero in 2009. And this year I didn’t even talk about it. I live alone, and work was filled with work things, so I decided to use my blog to express my thoughts.
I remember I was getting ready to work, curling my hair. I was listening to the radio and the morning show on this particular station often did pranks. When they announced the first tower fell, I thought it was a joke. It wasn’t until their serious tone carried on for a bit that I started to realize something terrible was really happening.
With the TV now turned on, I sat on the couch in complete shock as I watched footage of the first tower falling. I remember crying in disbelief as I watched it unfolding before me. When the second tower fell I was watching it on live television. I can’t remember if the footage of the poor people jumping from the towers to escape the heat of the hellish consuming flames was seen live, or if it is burned into my brain from all the footage that aired all day, and so many of the days after, but I remember it just the same. I am not sure how long it took for the initial astonishment wore off. And as I am writing this, I am not sure it has ever completely worn off. Because as I write this, my eyes are brimmed with tears.
At the credit union where I worked, there was a hushed tone and a solemness hanging in the air. The employees and the members who were forced to do business that day. “Can you believe it?” people would say choking back tears and even sometimes spilling them. I worked the drive thru that day. We, along with the rest of the nation all paused for a moment of silence. We closed the teller windows and put a sign up notifying our members that we were pausing to remember for a full minute.
I remember that every break and lunch we congregated in the break room to stare in horror as more and more information came in about who was responsible. The footage was repeated over and over. After work was spent with friends and loved ones on couches watching the story unfold. My dad was working in Qatar at the time. People who didn’t do it were claiming they had. I remember being so terrified.
There was something else I remember. I remember our nation banding together. We were a country under attack. It was a tremulous time and together we stood united. Every person felt this devastation of the assault. While I know the families of those suffered infinitely more, I know the loss was felt by us all.
When I was in New York City in 2009 my friends and I visited Ground Zero. The place where I cried the most, where all of us cried the most was actually in St. Paul’s Chapel. It is a historical church that dates back to colonial times, so I was already super
enthralled. St.Paul’s Chapel is where the workers who dug through the rubble rested in between shifts. Inside the chapel there is memorabilia. It is covered in letters and banners from the entire country expressing their condolences, their support for the volunteers. There is a huge banner from Oklahoma stating, “To New York City and all the rescuers, keep your spirits up. Oklahoma loves you!!” There were memorial pictures of rescuers and others who died. I cried as I walked through the displays. When I visited again in 2011 with other friends, I cried again. They were tears of mourning and remembering. They were tears brought on by remembering the compassion we showed for one another in such a terrifying time. We really must never forget
Please comment if you feel like you need to share your thoughts and feelings about this day. I would love to read them.