Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where I was.


I can't believe six years have passed since "9/11." Part of me wants to just go about the day normally and not even think about what happened in our country six years ago, but I think that would be a disservice to all those who lost their lives that day. We've all heard so much about it over the years and I think we almost are numb to a lot of it now.

But the other day at the luncheon, my godmother was telling a story about a friend of a friend who had been living in the city when the planes hit the two towers. She actually worked in one of the buildings across the street from the twin towers, and even stopped in one of the towers every morning for coffee (right around the time of day the first plane struck). That Tuesday, however, she decided to sleep in because she had flown back into town late the night before. The sound of the plane hitting the first tower actually woke her up. Her apartment was very close by. Not knowing what was going on, she grabbed her keys and bag and took off. She ended up running across a bridge, like thousands of others, to vacate the city. Worst part was that her apartment was within the zone that was blocked off and she wasn't able to get back to her apartment for days. Her driver's license had an old address on it so she wasn't able to get past security without proof of her home address. I just can't imagine being stranded with nowhere to go... especially not being able to get to your own home. This story reminded me that there were so many more people affected by that day's events then just the ones who lost their lives or lost loved ones. I can't imagine the fear everyone must have felt that day - the people that were there watching all of this happen and not knowing what to do. The girl finally did get back to her apartment but left the city for good shortly after. She tried to stick it out, but ended up moving out west. She just couldn't be there anymore - and that breaks my heart.

I think it's important to reflect on that day, even if it's just thinking back on where I was when everything started going down. It brings back those feelings I felt six years ago - though it's not something I like to relive, it's definitely something I don't want to forget. I remember I was in my apartment, getting dressed and listening to my favorite morning radio program. I was in graduate school at this point and studying heavily for the CPA exam, which I was to sit for that November for the first time. So I was about to head out to Barnes & Noble for a fun-filled day of hard core studying. The radio DJ's were going about their usual routine and then one of them interrupted the others after seeing the image of the first plane hitting the tower on the television. At that point I immediately turned on the TV. Pretty much everyone else I knew was at work that day... I remember talking to my bestest, one other girlfriend, the hub-to-be, and especially my dad. I remember calling my dad time after time giving him updates. A second plane. The first tower is gone. The second tower is gone. And then later the Pentagon... that part was especially scary for us because my mom was in DC at the time for business. We couldn't get a hold of her, but she was fine. She was actually in a meeting outside the district. I do remember that she had to rent a car to get home though.

I never made it to Barnes & Noble. I was glued to the TV the entire day. I didn't move off my couch at all. It was just all so surreal. It's weird thinking back on it... it seems like forever ago but then again, it was just like yesterday. So that's where I was. Isn't it funny how people always ask "where were you when..." When Kennedy was shot? (not born yet.) When the Challenger exploded? (on a field trip at a local Coca-Cola bottling plant.) When Princess Diana was killed? (in my apartment at college.) Like why is where *we* were important? I don't think it's the "where" so much as just remembering the snapshot of that moment. We remember places and people and events that leave a permanent impression on us. When I think back to where I was on 9/11, I remember exactly how I felt. And that's what's important to me. So... where were you?

4 comments:

Melissa said...

Weird. I was in graduate school for accounting on 9/11 also. And I also remember being on a field trip in elementary school the day of the Challenger explosion as well! I remember both of those days like they were yesterday.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I was just out of the shower and watching the news when the first plane hit. I drove to class that morning but left after my first class. Belle and I spent like 2 hours in line to get gas that afternoon. The rest of the day was spent watching news and on the phone. I was in my classroom watching the challenger take off and then explode. I was in crazy Heather's dorm room when I first learned of Diana. And not that you asked, but I was in a hotel room in Salt Lake City during the OJ Bronco chase.

tulipmom said...

Following my grandmother's funeral in Florida the previous week, I had gone back to PA to be with my mom. My husband was in DC working blocks from the White House.

I was in junior high social studies class when the Challenger exploded. We watched it on TV.

And it was the day of my wedding when Diana died.

Sarah said...

I wrote about this on my blog too. I was in Boston when my building in the financial district got evacuated after the 2nd tower was hit.