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Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11

I wasn't sure if I could write about today.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to.  I'm compelled though to write what I probably will never be able to say.

5 yrs ago, I was sitting at work and answered the phone.  It was my boss's sister.  She told me a small plane had hit the World Trade Center.  Then his daughter called, then my cozy, safe world came crashing down.

We had workers in and around NYC, including my boss's son.  I began the ardurous task of trying to get a hold of them.  Cell phones were pretty much useless in the Northeast, but I kept dialing and dialing.  I finally got a hold of them.  They were all together, they were safe and they were trying to get out.  The made it over the bridges, one of the last cars to leave the city.  We later learned they watched it all happen from the roof they were on.

We turned on the tiny TV that we have here and watched.  I wasn't sure what to do with myself.  Do I work, do I go home?  News came of military actions and my thoughts suddenly turned to my sister.  At the time she was living on the Air Force Academy.  I called her immediately.  Didn't care if my boss said anything about calling Colorado from work.  I NEEDED to know she was safe.  She was, but the entire base was completely locked down, her husband was on duty and she was alone and terrified.

DH called around noon because his car wouldn't start.  He worked for a 24/7 call center for TTY users and HAD to get to work.  They were understandably swamped.  I left to pick him up and drive him in.

I drove past an auto dealership with the largest American Flag I'd ever seen, billowing in the wind.  I had driven past that flag thousands of times before and never noticed it.  And suddenly it hit me, that this was real and happening HERE, not half way around the world in some country I couldn't pronounce and would never visit.  Thousands of people who had gotten up, gone to work like any other Tuesday, weren't going to come home.   And I couldn't explain why they weren't...Why this had happened...Why here.

I hadn't cried until then.  I couldn't stop after that.  I cried the whole way home and all the way back.  I pulled it together enough to go back to work, but my heart, my mind, my soul was not there and wouldn't be for weeks.

That night I had planned on staying home, but 5 minutes of CNN and I HAD to get to my parent's house.  There was talk of war and retalliation, of further attacks and I couldn't handle it.  I sat in the cellar with my dad and cried watching the coverage.

I honestly don't remember much about the days and weeks that followed.  I know I cried pretty much every night after work watching Dan Rathers, and every morning before watching CNN.  We learned that one of my closest childhood friends shouldn't be with us today.  She should've been at the bottom of one of the Towers right as the planes were hitting.  She had decided to sleep in that morning and skip a class. 

We got up early that following Sat and stood in a line that streched for blocks and bought a flag.  We prayed for the families who had lost loved ones, for their spouses and children, their mothers and fathers.

9/11 shook me to my core.  It stripped me on an innocence that I'll never get back.  It's not that I'm scared to fly or travel or live my life, but it made me realize how quickly life can be taken.  How the most mundane of days can quickly become life altering and how little control I truly have.

I often wonder if Ally will ever fully comprehend what 9/11 means.  I'm guessing not.  She will learn about it through textbooks and edited videos shown in school, but it won't have the same meaning.

2 comments:

Kerri. said...

Beautiful post, Sarah. Thank you for writing it.

mischka said...

Can't believe it's been 5 years...