What were you doing on this morning 9 years ago? I bet you all can remember like it was yesterday. I know I can.
Mackenzie was 8 months old and I was 3 or 4 months pregnant with Jack. It was a regular morning: Scott was already at work and Mac and I had finished breakfast and were settling in for a quiet morning with the Wiggles. My mother-in-law called to tell me that there had been some kind of explosion at the World Trade Center...she was in a doctor's waiting room and saw the news on the television. I told her that I would put the news on and see what was going on.
To be perfectly honest, I didn't "get it." I remembered that someone had set off a bomb of some sort in one of the buildings a couple years before that and I just assumed this new explosion was more of the same. I didn't understand the seriousness of the situation and I certainly did not expect what was still to come.
I changed the channel to our local news station right before the second tower was hit...then the first tower fell....then the second tower fell... I was in shock, as was everyone else who was watching. I still didn't understand what was happening; I'm not sure anyone did at that moment. I changed the channel for a few minutes and when I changed it back, the Pentagon was hit. By this time, I believe, the news was reporting about the planes that were hitting these American landmarks, saying that the planes had been taken over by terrorists and that the planes were full of innocent passengers who also died.
By this time, I had hit full panic mode. I had spoken with my mom on the phone about it and we wondered if we needed to empty our bank accounts and meet somewhere out in the country to be safe. At this time, we were living in Houston, where most of the major oil companies have their headquarters. Realizing this made me panic even more. I called Scott and he was in a meeting, so I had to leave a message. It went something like this: "I don't know if you know what has been going on this morning but terrorists are taking over planes flying out of the east coast and they are targeting major American places like the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I think they are moving across the country and will hit every major city or landmark that they can and that means they could be headed for Houston! Are they (meaning ConocoPhillips) going to close the offices and evacuate??" A few minutes later he called back was calm, as always. He was aware of what was going on but the offices were going to stay open.
News quickly spread about the plane that, because of some very brave passengers, had crashed, not at the White House like it was speculated to be headed for, but in an empty field in Pennsylvania. After seeing this, I just sat on the couch and waited to hear about the next plane and the next but that news never came. It appeared that the attack was over and now it was time to focus on what had just happened to our powerful and safe country that didn't feel so powerful or safe anymore.
Everyone was glued to the TV for days after that. You couldn't help but watch the repeat showings of the towers falling, the dust and debris falling from the New York sky, people running around, crying and screaming, and the worst part for me: seeing people jump from the windows of the WTC because they didn't know what else to do. Our police officers and firemen, who worked tirelessly to save those who could be saved...when almost every fireman from one particular firehouse was killed after a part of a building collapsed on top of them. The empty field with pieces of the plane thrown all around....the Pentagon that was opened up and torn apart to where you could see the the hallways and offices that were inside from the TV cameras flying overhead. These are just some of the images that will stay in our minds and in our hearts for the rest of our lives.
So, today, please remember all of those that died in the airplanes and in the collapsed buildings. Remember their loved ones, their spouses and their children. Remember all of the rescue workers who worked day and night for weeks to help those in need: police officers, firemen/women, our military, doctors and nurses and all of those who volunteered. Our country was brutally attacked September 11, 2001 but we are still a strong, God-fearing country. Land of the free. Home of the brave. Land that I love.