Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years ago

Like most Americans (I assume) I remember what I was doing that awful morning a decade ago.

I had just gotten home from work. I was doing the overnights at the local ABC affiliate (WTVQ) in Lexington, KY. After my 10p - 8a shift I got home, made myself a snack, and got on the computer. I was playing a game (Turbo 21) and listening to 'Good Morning America' on the tv behind me.

It was the usual morning chat going on with Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson, when they suddenly went to a live shot of the World Trade Center, smoke billowing out of one of the towers.  They weren't sure what exactly was going on, just that a plane of some sort had hit the tower.  Everyone figured it was some sort of horrible accident.  Until all of a sudden another plane came barreling into the screen and struck the second tower on live television - flames shooting out all around.

I sat there staring at the screen, mouth hanging open, not comprehending what I had just seen.  How could one commercial jet hit the WTC, much less two?  I couldn't fathom that people had somehow hijacked the planes and carried out a terrorist attack on our soil. That just didn't happen here.

I was exhausted, having been up since the previous afternoon, but I couldn't tear myself away from the tv. I was home alone - my sister that I lived with at the time was in the Outer Banks of NC with the rest of my family. This was before my parents had cell phones so it wasn't like I could get a hold of them.

I sat there, continuing to watch the coverage, and was horrified when they showed the Pentagon - a hole in the side of the building with more smoke pouring out.  What was going on?? Who could be attacking us like this?

I continued to watch, tears in my eyes, as the first tower fell.  My heart was in my throat, thinking about all of the people who were still in that building, trying not to imagine the horror that they were experiencing.  Eight minutes later came news that another hijacked jet had crashed into a field in southwestern PA (where I grew up). They speculated that it had been headed to DC to take out another target.  We wouldn't find out until later about the heroics of the passengers of that flight.  21 minutes later I cried more when the second tower fell.  How could this be?  How could two such huge buildings be gone in a span of less than two hours?

By now I was fighting to keep my eyes open, but I was afraid to go to sleep. Terrified of what else might happen.  Eventually  I gave in and crawled into bed.  I slept for a few hours and then woke up to watch the continuous coverage on all the channels.  I was off work for the next two days (Wed and Thurs was my weekend) and was home alone.

In the following days, weeks, and months we would learn more about the terrorists and we would see a rush of patriotism in our country.We would also never again feel like we were untouchable.  We now knew that horrible things could happen right here at home.

Now ten years later, here we are.  As I sat watching the coverage of the memorial it took me back to that day.  This time I could only wipe away the tears and hug Andrew a little bit closer.

We will never forget...

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