It’s been ten years this weekend since the World Trade Center Towers were hit by planes and subsequently collapsed; the act which started the country down the road toward it’s current state with two wars being waged, civil rights restricted in the name of National Security and overwhelming deficits where we are robbing Peter not even pretending to pay Paul. I worry for my children and wonder what their lives as American citizens will be like when they are my age and paying taxes. Luckily, Big Sister has already begun taking an interest in the election process and last week asked me when she gets to vote. At nine she has more interest than half of my siblings do.
But I digress… this is about my memories of where I was on that fateful day in September of 2001. A day like the one when Kennedy was shot since everyone old enough to have memory of it can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened.
At the time, I was eight months pregnant with our first child, Big Sister. Hubby and I were living in Tooele, Utah and both working in Salt Lake City which meant long commutes. Hubby would wake up super early and be on the road by five AM and I would wake a couple of hours later to the television turning on – still the coolest alarm clock I’ve ever had. I would lay in bed half conscious for the end of the local news until the Today show would come on at seven which was my queue to get up and get in the shower. Instead of hitting the snooze button I’d watch the first little segment of national news and then get up. That morning they were doing live coverage special reporting showing aerial shots of the World Trade Center towers, one of which had smoke coming out of it toward the top, and speculating on what could have happened. Initial reports were just coming in about something having hit it with everyone at that point still thinking it was some kind of horrible accident.
And then – live on television – I saw the second plane hit. And they played it over and over for the rest of the morning while the country’s collective sat in shock at the realization this was being done on purpose. Unfathomable.
It’s mostly a blur from there as reports were made about yet another plane hitting the Pentagon and eventually the plane that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania instead of it’s intended target because the passengers fought back against the hijackers. I remember sitting there in bed rubbing my pregnant belly and wondering what kind of a world I was going to bring this new baby into and wishing Hubby was there with me instead of just a voice on the other end of the phone sounding just as shocked as I was feeling. He was watching on television at work after a coworker’s wife had called and told them to tune in.
I vaguely remember getting ready for work and heading for the office, much later than usual. I kept wandering back and forth between the bathroom and the bedroom glued to the television. Before I left I saw both the towers collapse – still live. When I got to work, the little thirteen inch TV in the break room on top of the refrigerator, which I had only before seen used by the night janitorial crew, was turned on showing the news recapping over and over what people just tuning in might have missed. People would wander into the small cramped room, watch for a bit, then wander away. Everyone who had radios on their desks were listening to news reports. Streaming CNN was choking our network broadband but not much work was happening anyway so no one said anything. Everyone was talking about it constantly. Many were visibly shaken and emotional. Some never left that room all day.
The entire country was in chaos. One of my coworker friends had left that morning for a vacation in New York. I remember being frantic, worried if she was on one of the planes, and relieved when I heard from her. They had arrived hours earlier and were nowhere near ground zero, as it was later dubbed, but had tried to make their way closer to see what was happening. One of my closest friends at the time had just sent her husband off on a plane that morning for training in the Midwest. His plane was grounded when they closed the airspace stranding him in Las Vegas for days until the two of us drove down to get him one night after work. We returned just in time to change our clothes and go to work the next morning.
I was very lucky since neither Hubby or I had anyone close – or even an acquaintance – who were killed on that day. Although thousands were not that lucky. And that doesn’t include the thousands who have been killed since that day in Iraq and Afghanistan. In reality, the country hasn’t been the same since… And in many ways it is hard to believe it has been ten years.
Do you remember where you were that morning?