When growing up, my parents, who were 40 and 48 when I was born, would talk about the dates that they most remembered: December 7, 1941, and the day Kennedy was shot. I didn’t have one of those dates, and I was glad.
But, now, I do.
September 11, 2001
What was I doing?
I was pulling into the parking lot of my school. I wanted to check the radio to see what time it was to see if I was late. Turning to the local news station, I realized that these weren’t the normal voices that I hear. Soon, I realized that I was listening to the New York CBS affiliate and that they were talking about a plane going into the World Trade Center. At first I thought, Oh, what a tragedy. What an awful accident. I didn’t leave my car, and before I could turn it off, the civilian caller that was describing the first plane crash, told of the second one. The reporters on the radio had been told that there was a second one, but, didn’t believe it. But, their civilian confirmed it for them.
By then, the sick feeling entered my stomach, and couldn’t leave.
I went into the school and tried to find a radio. We don’t have any outside TV’s, so, I went online ASAP. The radio nor the computer ever left my sight. I listened, as the reporters told of the destruction.
Then, I heard about the Pentagon.
It was surreal.
Could it possibly be?
How much worse could it get?
Being at work, I listened and heard things. I even saw the pictures on the computer. But, it didn’t prepare me for what I saw when I got home, and turned on the TV.
They described the bomb blasts, and you could ‘see’ in your mind the terror. But, I was unprepared to watch those trapped above the blast, waiving whatever they could to make out flags, signaling that they were indeed alive, and desperate for help.
I wasn’t prepared to watch those who leapt to their deaths in desperation.
I was numb watching the buildings come down. These were 110 –stories tall skyscrapers that were coming down as easy as toothpicks.
Then, it was the surreal moment, like out of a movie, of those who were running like hell, away from the cloud of smoke and debris that was coming towards them in a hurry.
Like a movie.
How many of us said that this week.
‘ It was like a movie.’
But, it was no movie. It was real. All too real.
I didn’t know anyone in New York City or Washington, DC, who was hurt.
But, I didn’t have to.
They were my fellow man.
Innocent people whose only crime was showing up for work that day. All those parents without children. All those children with at least one parent missing. Everyone, had ONE person in the world to which they mattered. At least one person is in pain and agony over this.
I think of the firefighters, policemen and emergency workers.
These are people who, by their very nature, run towards situations that
the rest of us run away from. They are heroes everyday that they are on
the job. Theoretically, they know that everyday could be their last. It’s
a pain on the community when ONE of them is lost. The staggering numbers
that they are talking about in New York are devastating.
I am afraid. As I try to go back to a ‘normal’ routine, I am afraid. Afraid of words like ‘war’. I guess I’d always believed that once man created weapons that could annihilate himself many times over, that ‘war’ would be something no one could possibly want. I fear for myself, for my fellow man, for all of humanity. I feel a deep sense of sadness at the loss of the world as I knew it. Because, I know it is gone. We will lose some of our civil liberties in order to ‘maintain order’, and that is frightening. I am proud to be an American. I was proudest of our ‘free’ society.
It was a scary sight, seeing those F-15’s flying over New York City and Washington. It was scary to think that the country was basically shut down and closed off, border to border.
But, now, my fright has gone over to anger. Anger at people who would murder innocents at will in the name of God, of all things. Anger at people, mostly from countries who can’t spell the word FREE and have decided that, for THEIR holy thoughts that WE should be as UNFREE as they are.
Day by day, I’m trying to get back to ‘normal’. I will have to navigate this ‘new world’, as will we all.
But, people need our help.
There are several ways to help. I know that there are lots of organizations, but, the top three for me are:
You can go to Amazon.com and click to donate to the Red Cross
You can go to Yahoo.com and donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Fire Fighters Fund.
Many Americans have special memories of the World Trade Building. The World Trade Towers hold a special meaning for me. I first went to New York just a few weeks after the death of my father. I had planned the trip before my father's death, and I had been numb since his death. Two of my closest friends and I went to New York. I fell in love with the city on first sight. I've always loved skyscrapers, and the World Trade Center was no difference. Right near my favorite thing to do in NYC, taking the Staten Island Ferry, we spent a day in lower Manhattan. I've been to New York since that first time 12 years ago, and always, the World Trade Center was on the schedule. It's hard to believe it's gone.
When you have nothing else, you can have hope. This picture,
I believe, is a testament to the American Spirit, and to its determination.
May God keep us enclosed in our right mind, and give us the strength to withstand the tests that will soon face us.