"Where were you when the world stopped turning, That September day?" is asked in a song lyric. It is a question that each one of us could answer with vivid recall. The emotions of that day are strong enough to come flooding back, when we choose to remember.
The horror, shock and fear of that day still course through my veins. I was in the car. I had just dropped Mr. Weasel at the train station for his commute to a sky scraper adjacent to the Sears Tower. The news report came on the radio seconds after I had pulled away to continue my morning trek to drop the kids off at school. "A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, we will report details as we know them" said the show host. Immediately I had thought terrorism. I had to tell myself to wait, to find out more. This could have been an accident. Maybe it was a small plane. I took the kids into school and when I returned to the car they were talking about planes(plural) having crashed. That had confirmed for me that this was no accident.
I hurried home and back into the house to turn on the news and see the smoke billowing from the towers. That's an image we have all now seen hundreds of times and never fails to lose it's effect on me. I tried calling Mr. Weasel to tell him to turn around and come home. He had lack of phone signal and didn't answer. I new that this was not over. That if they had 2 planes, they probably had more. I wanted Mr. Weasel home.
I called my mother. She tried insisting to me that this was only in New York and that Mr. Weasel would be fine. I knew that there would be more. I finally was able to get a hold of him as he was entering his office building and was barely able to pass through the lobby for all the people watching the news. This was how he discovered what was going on. Like Mom, he insisted that this was only in New York and he would call me back soon.
I called Mom back. I am getting angry that he won't come home. She was trying to convince me that it was fine. I wasn't buying it. We were still talking when the news broke of an 'explosion has rocked the Pentagon'. I almost scream this news into the phone. They are talking about "planes still unaccounted for". Now Mom starts screaming at me "tell Mr. Weasel to get the hell home!".
Shortly after that Mr. Weasels building and and all other office buildings downtown were evacuated and the entire city work force headed for Union Station or other train stations. This struck me as a great target for sitting ducks.
Soon the news would report about the crash of flight 93 in Pennsylvania. I cried I prayed and I watched. 102 minutes after the crash into the second tower The Nation watched live as it came tumbling down. There were no more words to say. We watched and prayed as people covered in soot emerged from the debris cloud. We cried as we knew many had died.
I picked Mr. Weasel up after his train commute and held him with all my strength. I was relieved to have him safe, but also just needed to be held. We watched the news almost in silence for the remainder of the day. The news remained on in my home 24/7 for at least a week after that.
As we remember this anniversary, may all of the images and emotions of that day stay with us. May our experiences that day remain seared into who we are and bond us as Americans. May we remember that through the efforts of brave and hardworking men and women, both in and out of uniform, have been working diligently to protect us from this happening again. Those who are serving in a way that will never be able to make the evening news, and thank God for them. May we remember that because of such a fast response that day other targets were not struck. Although Al Quida had many more on their list that day. May we remenber the heroes of that day. The first responders, The soldiers at the pentagon, the office workers and those aboard flight 93 who worked to save their fellow Americans that day. May we fly our flags in memorial for the dead and with pride in our country.
Where were you when the world stopped turning?
And May we Never Forget.
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