A Suburban City Girl in A Small Town

Moment by moment……

9/11 – Ten Years Later

on September 11, 2011
September 11, 2001

Image by wallyg via Flickr

Ten years ago, I was married and working at a La Petite daycare in Spring, TX. My daughter, Shelby, was in speech therapy at the local school and my ex-husband was working the overnight shift at his company. He’d just come home and gone to bed when I got up to take Shelby to school. After that, I went to Kroger’s to get a few staples while Emilie still slept at home.

Music was playing overhead in the store and I remember being annoyed that some newscast kept cutting out one of my favorite songs. By the time I reached the register, the song was over. The person in front of me was mentioning how terrible “it” was. They left and I stepped up. The cashier looked at me.

‘Terrible, isn’t it,” she said in her southern accent.

“What’s going on?” I asked not really caring about her answer. It was more of a rhetorical thing.

She looked at me dumbfounded. “The country is being attacked!”

Not really registering what she was saying, I grabbed my bags and rushed to the car. Turning on the radio, the news of the morning quickly filled the car (and me) with dread. My short drive home was made shorter by me speeding and not fully stopping at all the stop signs.

Emilie was still asleep when I got home. I turned the tv on as the second plane hit the second tower. My ex-husband awoke at the sound of my scream. The next few minutes were a haze of tv reports and phone calls as they were saying other major cities, like Chicago, were next. My sister worked downtown and my mother worked at the Merchandise Mart at the time but she was telecommuting. That day just happened to be a day she was working from home. I called her first and then I called my sister to find they were evacuating. I returned to my tv just in time to see both towers fall. The reality of being under attack was surreal.

After getting ready for work, Emilie and I stopped to pick up Shelby. Teachers walked around trying to hide their tears. Parents were there already picking up their children, hugging them and kissing them all the way out to their cars. I did the same with mine.

The car ride to the daycare was a quiet one as the Christian radio station I listened to were warning against children listening to the news. I heeded that warned not sure how much my 3 and 4 year old daughters could ingest and not wanting to take the chance.

Like the school, the daycare was buzzing with parents who’d been let go from work early and were picking up their kids. Mascara stained the cheeks of women while men sniffed quietly. Confused children were crushed in embraces. The employees were told to manage the remaining children as best as possible. The phone never stopped ringing.

I remember afterwards, being glued to the tv for days on end as the media spoke to survivors, showed endless takes of the planes hitting the towers in NY and ran streams of names of people missing or dead. I remember my dad being shaken up. A survivor of WWII in Italy, he never expected to have to live through another bombing like this in his lifetime. He was wrong.

Ten  years later, my life is very different. I’m divorced now, my girls are teenagers and my whole perspective has changed. But this one thing remains: I will never forget the bravery of men and women, both in and out of uniform who risked their lives for others. I will never forget how unsuspecting we were as a nation. I will never be ungrateful for security measures now in place nor will I ever be unkind to those who carry out those measures. I will never forget American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 as they flew into the Two Towers. I will never forget American Airlines Flight 77 that flew into the Pentagon. I will never forget United Airlines Flight 93 headed for either the Capitol or the White House brought down by courageous men and women in Shanksville, PA.

I will never forget.

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