September 11, 2011, 8:40 a.m. – I get up like any other Sunday, ready to watch CBS Sunday Morning, have some tea, and start a relaxing day. Except instead of the usual Sunday morning t.v. fare, Mayor Bloomberg is speaking at a ceremony commemorating the 10 year anniversary.
I didn’t forget, but I did get up like it was any other morning only to be jarred from my complacency by tragedy.
Just like I did 10 years ago.
Ten years ago today, I don’t remember exactly what I was doing that morning. I know the television was on, tuned to a morning show. And I know my attention was elsewhere, probably with the dog. (We had one dog then, Natasha, and one cat, Penny; both died in 2005.)
I remember the moment after the first plane hit, watching the smoke billow out of the first tower at the World Trade Center. What a horrible feeling, what a horrible accident.
And then, soon after, the second plane. I saw that one as it happened. The panic, the confusion. My panic, my confusion. I don’t remember what I did next. I may have called darling husband at work. I may have called someone. I may have sat glued to the television. The images on the television screen are burned in my mind but my actions, if there were any, are a blur.
As I sit here writing, I can hear the families of those killed on 9/11 read the names of those killed on 9/11, and I think, “It takes so much longer for them to read their names than for their lives to be snuffed out, as quickly as a candle flame, thousands of souls left this earth.”
I know that I was glued to the television when a reporter breaks in with the news that something has happened at the Pentagon. At this point, I know I am in total panic. This is the end of the world. I either call my stepmother or she calls me. She has a nephew who works at the Pentagon, or worked at the Pentagon, or has a friend who is at the Pentagon. I can’t even remember. We both are watching the television as we talk on the phone.
I don’t know what to do, so I decide to drive to darling husband’s work, bringing with me a small, portable television. At that time, darling husband was in the midst of plans to go to Jamaica on a mission trip with a group from the church we were attending. I’d had a sense of foreboding about the trip; normally I was completely supportive of these trips but this time I had a knot in my stomach right from the start. I know I am in a panic about that trip, as I bring the television so he can watch what’s going on. He is supposed to leave in a matter of days, departing from Logan airport in Boston with a layover in Miami.
As we plug in the television, we see the images of the first tower crashing to the ground. I am in a panic, I am numb, and I am sure the end of the world is at hand.
And as I sit here writing, the names of the victims are still being read in the background. This time, there are many children and young adults reading names, children of the victims, children now on their way to adulthood, their entire lives overshadowed by losing a parent or loved one in this national tragedy.
It’s strange to think that these young people were just babies or young school children when 9/11 happened. It seems like just yesterday.
I get up and let the dogs out as the reading of the names continues; I can hear the television faintly as I toss the ball for our dogs in the backyard. Time has moved on, the world did not end, life continued. But the memories will last forever.