September 9, 2011

I Heard The News Today, Oh Boy

I was standing in my office on a phone call when, out of the unoccupied ear I heard that a small plane crashed into a building in New York. I was on my way to my psychiatrist when I saw the smoke rising from the Pentagon. I was pulling into the parking lot when the reports came that - if you believed them all - every building in New York and Washington was on fire. I told my psychiatrist what happened. She fell apart. I thought I might have the wrong psychiatrist. I got back in my car and headed home. The 15 mile trip took two hours. I arrived at home, opened the door and found Beth watching the news. I found myself staring at pictures of this horrible thing that I'd only, to that point, heard about and tried not to picture in my mind. It, for whatever reason, had not occurred to me that cameras could have captured horror of this magnitude.

We lived close to an airport. All flights were grounded. The silence was eerie. We sat in the silence glued to the couch emerging only when a helicopter flew overhead. Everyone came out of their homes and looked up to the sky. It was as if we were refugees. In a sense we were.

In the hours and days that followed I watched the endless coverage and surfed the news sites, reading first hand accounts and looking at pictures of decimated buildings and soot-covered people. Some part of me couldn't sit idly by while so many other suffered so profoundly. I had to suffer a little bit myself.

I remember many things from that day but above all I remember the bright blue sky. In ten years I don't believe I've seen such a beautiful day.

Week and months after 9-11, my greatest fear wasn't getting blown up in a building or inhaling anthrax. My biggest fear was that we'd forget - we'd forget what a wonderful country we were, how people from all walks of life came together, how we all flew American flags, and, most importantly, how many people were lost as a result of sheer hatred. I'm still afraid of that.

Posted by Chris at September 9, 2011 7:32 AM

Isn't it amazing and horrible how such traumatic events become etched on our hearts and minds with such astonishing clarity? I remember that entire morning as clearly as if I had an actual recording in my head. My heart has been breaking a little more each day for the last week. I'm pretty sure by Sunday I will be a wreck.

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 9, 2011 8:01 AM

I kept grabby my husband and holding him. As a former Air Line Pilot, (retired by then) I'd watched him go off to work like those pilots every day. I thanked God that I had him with me, and not blown to bits.
I cannot fathom such evil, such hatred. And yet, as I watched pieces of the Twin Towers fall feeling oddly horrified at the carnage, I actually became ill, when I realized it wasn't steel, those things falling were people, choosing to jump than to be burned alive.
I pray for all American's, all good people today, and I hope that evil is conquered.
Hugs to you, Beth and the children.

Posted by: Maribeth at September 9, 2011 8:38 AM

The sky has never been so blue, Chris. That's what I remember too about that day. And I fear that we ARE forgetting.....

Posted by: Dawn at September 9, 2011 8:55 AM

thanks for sharing, Chris. I remember too that it was SUCH a beautiful sky that day.

MentalFloss did a great job of outlining how different countries stopped and thought of us that day, it is a nice read and will help everyone remember:

Posted by: amy at September 9, 2011 12:44 PM

it was a beautiful day... that is what i remember the most too...

Posted by: suicide_blond at September 9, 2011 5:23 PM

I know that I, personally, won't ever forget. It seems to me (from the informal poll I've been taking in my head) that most around me are not forgetting, either.

Posted by: bacioni at September 9, 2011 7:07 PM

I was driving in from work after a long weekend away with friends and like so many others, thought about what a remarkably nice day it was. I work just 3 blocks from the White House and my husband works by the Capitol so the news of more planes being hijacked was terrifying. I couldn't reach my husband on the phone - but somehow knew he was walking to my office since the metro was closed. I waited several hours for him to make his way - at one point my friends and I were watching the Pentgon fire from our rooftop. By the time we decided to leave the building - the streets were just about deserted. We stopped on the highway by the Pentagon for a moment - the police officer by the side of the road allowed folks a few seconds and then encouraged us to move on. It was very surreal and I was mainly numb for a few weeks.

Posted by: Sue R at September 12, 2011 11:41 AM