Friday, September 11, 2009
The world as we know it changed forever on September 11, 2001. Does a day go by where you don't think about 9/11? For me, I often think of that day and remember. Life changed that day, for everyone. It was quite possibly the single most historic day in our lifetime.
8 years ago today... 8 years. Yet, that day feels as clear to me as if it were yesterday. I was at work. I remember the fine details, like the outfit I was wearing, and what I was eating - grapes - when I found out an airplane had crashed into one of the twin towers.
My mom phoned to tell me to turn on CNN. First, it was just one airplane. One plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. Then, another. And then, a third plane crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, after some of the passengers onboard tried to overtake the terrorists.
Watching the twin towers collapse on CNN was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. To see this on television took my breath away. The shock, the disbelief, the horror. The fear. I think, at that moment, so many of us felt the same way. A fear that had never been felt on that level before. The unknown... wondering what was to come next. I think above all, in our minds, we were wondering what sort of people could deliberately do such a thing, such a terrible thing, something so unspeakable.
It felt like a horror movie unfolding right before our eyes.
I remember the hurried drive home, hearing stories on the radio change minute by minute - first, planes were heading towards the Parliament buildings, then, an unknown plane was flying over the White House, and so on... everyone was stuck in traffic, just trying to get home to their loves ones, tears flowing freely.
I remember calling my soon-to-be-husband, while he was in school. Happy to hear his voice, to hear that we were going to be okay. I remember all of us meeting at my parents house, still in shock.
The innocent lives that were lost that morning - that's what I think about most often. Every time I board a plane, I think about 9/11. Travelling now with my children, I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be a parent on one of those planes.
I think back to being at Windows on the World with a couple of close friends, enjoying a glass of wine, months before the towers collapsed, in awe of the incredible view.
I remember the frantic calls to family members in D.C., and to my uncle who was in the Middle East, in Jordan, for work.
I remember thinking about a friend who lived in New York City... was he okay? Was he near the World Trade Centre?
I can't imagine the fear the people who were on those planes felt. I can't imagine the absolute desperation people must have felt to have jumped out of a window 80 stories high.
I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be a brave firefighter that day, walking up and up and up, flight after flight, to help rescue people.
And the brave people on board that plane who crashed into a field, instead of into another building - those brave people who were living quite possibly one of their worst nightmares ever - who decided to fight back and avoid further disaster and death - those brave souls, who lost their lives for their country.
And what about all the lives lost in the buildings? Imagine the terror the residents of New York City must have felt that day, and for the days, weeks, and months to come.
I look at this giant poster I bought at IKEA just days after 9/11, hung in our basement, and I remember.
I remember also the people coming together. Kind, decent humans giving, helping, offering food, shelter, water, volunteering. Standing united, proud. Waving their American flags for all to see.
These are the things I often think about when I think back to 9/11/2001. A day that will never, ever be forgotten. A day that changed the world and our way of living in so many ways.
We will never forget. God bless America.