On September 11, 2001, I had just gotten back from overseas. I’d been in Israel, a business trip. While there, I picked up some kind of nasty bug that kept me very close to home — and a bathroom — and so, I was at home when the phone rang. Sandy and I were in my bedroom, sorting through some clothing. It was Owen — her husband, my son — on the phone.
“Turn on the television,” Owen said.
“What channel?” I asked.
“Any channel,” he said. “Do it now.”
I did. “The World Trade Center is on fire,” I said.
“A plane hit it,” he said. And as I watched, another plane hit the other tower and the world spun round and nothing was the same after that.
“Oh my God,” I whispered. “The tower is gone. Gone.”
Then, the other tower fell.
Nothing remained but a cloud of dust and a giant pile of toxic rubble. Information started to come in. One of my co-workers was supposed to be on one of the planes that had hit a tower. I called, but Herb said he had changed his mind at the last minute. He had felt he didn’t want to go on that flight. He’d take a different flight, later in the day.
“God whispered in your ear,” I said, as did everyone else that day. “God whispered and you listened.”
Close as we were to Boston, everyone was calling friends, family, trying to find out who was where, who was not, if anyone knew something. We watched television, we waited. Garry got home from Channel 7. He said the newsroom had been a very strange place that day. Very strange. Never stranger.
We knew the world had changed. We didn’t know how much. We didn’t know it would be forever.
12 years later, we know. It will never be the same. So many differences, some subtle, most not-so-subtle. It was the end of our belief in our invulnerability, though surely Pearl Harbor should have done that years before … but that was a “real” war, somehow different. This was an enemy we didn’t know we had, didn’t know was out to get us. Didn’t recognize the hatred behind the rhetoric, a hatred so blinding it would exempt no one from the fire.
It’s 9/11 again. A good time to remember who lived, who died, and how the world has changed.
- September 11th (stufffromthelab.wordpress.com)
- My 11 September story (kblakecash.wordpress.com)
- 9/11/2001 Where were you? (insidemymommybrain.wordpress.com)
- Question Time: Remembering Sept. 11, 2001 (kokomotribune.com)
- 9/11: Fil-Ams recall horror of terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- 9/11 Museum gets finishing touches as anniversary nears (nydailynews.com)
- First Look: 9/11 Museum to balance grief with remembrance (photoblog.nbcnews.com)
- the day that evil flew out of the sky (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)