Thursday, September 11, 2008


I remember the morning. We were still in bed, sleeping. Carlie was about two and a half, and still sleeping in the bed with Tim and I. My sister called, it seems like it was early, but it was probably seven or so. She asked if we were watching TV, and I said of course not, we're in bed, sleeping. She told me to turn on the TV, and I did, and watched the second plane crash into a building. I don't remember now if it was happening as we turned it on, or if it was the tape being replayed in what would be one of millions of replays before the day was through.

We watched and tried to figure out what was happening. We couldn't understand. It made no sense. Airplanes, flying into buildings? Oh, my God, what a horrible accident. Then the realization that airplanes were flying into buildings on purpose. It took a while for that to sink in.

I remember lots of phone calls to all of our family, most of whom live thousands of miles away. No one was in New York or close to New York or D.C., but the calls went back and forth all morning. "Are you all right?" even though they were nowhere near the scenes of the tragedies.

I remember not wanting Tim to go to work, but he did. He had to. When things like this happen his workload gets crazy. I remember crying, and thinking, wow, this is the first time I have cried over a news story, ever, in my life.

We had no friends or family in New York, no one that we know personally that was touched by the tragedy. We were like millions of other Americans, just watching from a distance, floored by what happened and was happening and continued to unfold out of the attacks that happened that day.

We watched the telethons, made our pledges, donated to the Red Cross and United Way, trying to feel like we were making a contribution but knowing that what we could contribute was pretty miniscule in the grand scheme of things.

I remember being proud of our new president (even though I didn't vote for him), thinking he was handling things so well. I remember Rudy Giuliani as a heroic figure. I remember feeling a sense of pride and awe for our country's first responders, heros, rushing into places where every instinct you have would tell you to run the other way. I remember making a "plan" with Tim, of what we would do if a disaster like this struck close to home, how to proceed, where to meet, who would get the kids from school. And I remember being scared and comforted by the sound of jets doing drills or patrols or whatever they were doing overhead in the days following. And waiting and wondering what would happen next.

What is your most vivid 9/11/01 memory?

1 comment:

Lisa Milton said...

We watched it unfold in real time, after nursing Zack. I made Greg get up and we sat there, befuddled.

It was Lexi's first day of preschool, and I remember deliberating whether or not to take her.

I took her. Half the class was absent.

I'll never forget how solemn and quiet we mothers were, not saying a single word until that Thursday, all thunderstruck by what we had just witnessed.

(I cried for weeks.)

And I remember the first time I heard a plane again, flying into PDX.