I did not intend to post on this, but frankly after watching archived news footage on msnbc.com of the events as they unfolded 5 years ago, I feel like I have to write.
I remember as a child wondering what my Mom & Dad felt as friends went off to Vietnam, what impact the death of JFK had on them, how they felt when MLK was assassinated, etc. Since the events of 9/11 were certainly the greatest single historically significant thing to occur in my lifetime, I want to recount that day from my perspective, so I can attempt to answer my children's questions one day.
My husband & I were engaged. I was living in Atlanta, but working in Columbus, GA. That morning, I made the 110 mile drive to work and prepared for a 9am meeting. As I was leaving my office for the meeting a couple of blocks away someone asked if I had heard about the plane that hit the World Trade Center. I assumed it must have been a small private plane and went to the meeting as scheduled.
I met with 2 other women for quite some time before someone knocked on the door of the office we were in and said that we really needed to break up our meeting and pay attention to what was going on. It was then that they told us about the second plane crash, the Pentagon crash and rumors of several missing planes. Shortly after their interruption, as we tried desperately to get news from the internet only to find the web completely jammed up from all the hits to news sites, word came of the crash in Pennsylvania. Someone then reported a rumor that there was a plan to crash planes in every state in the USA.
My thoughts and fears shifted immediately to my fiance, who was a resident doing trauma surgery in Atlanta. I knew that among the most likely targets in Georgia would be Atlanta. This is when fear and panic set in. Was the world coming to an end? Would I see my wedding day? Would I die without having children? All I wanted was to hear his voice, then to hug him close and not let him out of my sight.
The rest of the morning is a blur, but I remember attending a prayer vigil at the Episcopal church near my office at Noon. Everyone was stunned and tearful, yet being in a house of worship felt so secure. To fight my helpless feeling, I drove to the local Red Cross to give blood. Although I didn't meet the minimum weight requirement to donate, I planned to lie. I remember praying about it and deciding I was justified. It was the only tangible thing I felt like I could do. The line to donate blood stretched out the door and around 2 sides of the building. Evidentally lots of others felt the same way.
Another significant memory of the days following the attacks was driving into Atlanta and seeing a dark, silent sky around the Atlanta airport. If you have ever driven past Hartsfield you know that you are certain to see at least 5-6 planes as you speed by. The silence was eery. Against the dark skies, a bright highway sign declared: "National Emergency" It still gives me chills to think about that blank sky.
That weekend, I was scheduled to take a beach trip with a few girlfriends to celebrate the pending wedding of my friend, Laurie. We stayed in our pajamas in front of the TV all weekend processing what had happened. We cried freely as we watched countless desperate family members wandering through the streets of New York clutching signs bearing pictures of their lost relatives.
September 11th made me patriotic. I had never before experienced the swell of emotion I now do when I see the Stars and Stripes. I remember how time stopped, differences and pettiness were set aside and we were a family, grieving together.
I want my children to know and understand what makes this country great. How, although we often abuse our freedoms or take them for granted, we must not forget the tremendous sacrifices which have been and continue to be made by the men and women of our armed forces and their families.
It is why I tear up with pride each time they squeal, "Mommy, A-me-me-can Fwag! U. S. A. U. S. A."