Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking Back 10 Years - September 11th

I have never written my personal reflections about September 11, 2001. Today is the 10th anniversary of that day. Since this blog is all about passing down my lore to my boys, I am writing my thoughts down now for them.

Ten years ago today, we lived in Decatur, Georgia. We were in our eleventh year of living in the Atlanta area. My husband's office was only a mile away from our house. Our first son was 16 months old. I had a great network of friends with babies around the same age. My husband's work, in comparative hindsight, was very low stress. Life was enchanted for us, experiencing things for the first time through our young son's eyes.

That Tuesday morning was typical. My husband left for work and my son and I got down to the business of our day. I can't really recall what that business was but it likely involved planning at which park to play or which friends to invite over for a playdate. Shortly before 9:00 the phone rang. It was a good friend Megan on the line. I don't remember the words she said. We talked so briefly I suspect she only told me to turn on the television, that something bad was happening.

I turned on the TV and heard Matt Lauer's voice. I saw an image of the first Twin Tower with its now famous plume of black smoke billowing from the upper floors. I called my husband. I told him something was happening in New York, a jet had crashed into the World Trade Center. We talked only long enough for him to say that he would go check it out. There was a TV in the break room at the office.

Back to the TV, I watched, wondering how a plane could have crashed into the middle of New York City. And then the second plane hit the other tower. I know I saw it live because Matt lost his anchorman's composure ever so briefly. "It's another one! A second plane has hit the South Tower!" I talked to my husband again. I don't know if he called or I called. This was no accident in New York.

I remembering the feeling of horror and shock I felt that morning. I also remember being afraid. I called my parents. When Dad answered the phone, all I could manage was, "Are you watching tv?!" I remember those words vividly because I had to repeat them several times. Dad didn't recognize my voice because I was crying so hard. I finally told him who I was, why I was crying and to please turn on the television. He didn't know about the attacks until that point.

Once the next plane hit the Pentagon, my husband decided to come home from the office. The rest of that morning is a blur of phone calls, watching news footage, and hugging my husband all the while trying keep things normal for my son. That is what the last ten years have felt like too. I have been trying to keep things normal for all of us since that day.

I didn't lose anyone personally that day, but I feel I lost my innocence. Ten years ago, I lived in a bubble where bad things didn't happen in my life. Apparently, I was really lucky up to that point, or at least I was enough of a Pollyanna to think so. September 11th changed all that. It didn't "happen to me" but it happened and it took something away. From me. From all of us.

That September 11th became my World War II, my day that JFK was shot, my day MLK was shot, my Vietnam, my LA riots. It is the day that took away my sense of enchantment. It took away the peaceful easy feeling I had as I walked through life before that day.

I do not walk through life today in fear of terrorists. I do have quite an impressive emergency kit that I never had before. I do hate when anyone I know travels on or around this date. I do recognize that my bubble has been burst.

If September 11th had not happened, something else would have been the pin to burst that bubble. In the intervening years since 9/11, many things, enchanted, bad and otherwise, have happened to me and those I love. That is life and Pollyanna is gone. And in her place is a woman who knows that normal does not mean that harm won't be hurled your way. How you respond to that hurtling harm dictates how you emerge from the rubble.


  1. So very true. I believe that this day changed everyones life. I know it sure did mine.

    I had a military son-in-law and will never forget the fear that I went through. Even my daughter and grandddaughter were put under guarded watch that day . It took my daughter over and hour that night to get into the base housing subdivision they were in. And they were checked even when going out. I remember the fear in her voice as when she called and told me her husband was to be in the first of them shipped out that following week end. I remember the time my granddaughter had trying to understand. This was the first time her dad had to go overseas since she had been born. She was 7.I remember her blaming her mom cause he had to leave, them blaming people in New York. It took a lot of counseling for her to understand. As she said today." That day 10 years ago stole a little bit of my childhood as it did many."

    God Bless America.

  2. I was in the office that day, with your husband and Bill and a couple of other guys. We had been downsized almost out of existence and were working hard to try to keep our little office open.

    Thing I remember most about that day was that their #1 concern was for their wives and children. I'll never forget it. It spoke volumes about the kind of men they were (and are.)


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