Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11

I was half asleep in a hotel room in Dallas when I got the phone call telling me to turn on my TV. Either my sister called me, and I then called The Engineer, or vice versa. It is the message, not the voice delivering it, that I remember. I picked up the remote, and my eyes were glued to the television as I got ready. I watched at least one of the Towers fall.

I was an Admission Counselor for Grand Canyon University, and we had college fairs scheduled that day. The events went on, but attendance was low. One of the recruiters had a television, normally used to play a promotional DVD, but on this day it was tuned to a news station.

I recall that collective state of quiet shock and confusion, followed by grief and anger. I remember talking to my dad and the words he spoke--"Life as we know it will never be the same." Seven years later, his words ring profoundly true. It was a blow that forced our country to grow up quickly. For better or worse, it changed the way we handle terrorists and the countries that support them. Many died that day, and many more have died since. How I wish there was an easy, risk-free way to move forward in safety and security.

Oh, God, bless and comfort the families and friends of those who were lost on that day, and those who have died in the subsequent wars. God, please bring healing to those who are still injured in body and spirit.

If you'd like, please share where you were seven years ago.

16 comments:

Angie said...

I was in a meeting. A secretary came in to tell us that the next presenter would be late. His brother was in the towers. We asked what she was talking about. You could see her face drain as she had to be the one to tell a room of about 20 people what was going on. We got to the TV in time to see the towers start to fall. I still remember the day as my grandfather's birthday. After this happened he hated to celebrate it each year. He felt that it just wasn't right to celebrate.

beckiwithani said...

I was eating breakfast, planning on turning on The Today Show as usual when I finished. I got a call -- from you -- telling me to turn on the TV now. I remember standing in front of it, not even able to move to the couch, horrified. Then the second tower fell (I didn't see the first; when I turned it on they were still trying to figure out if the first tower had really fallen all the way down or if there had just been an explosion that created smoke). I remember sitting down in the middle of the floor like my legs couldn't hold me up, and saying "no" over and over.

And then I remembered crying during the news every night. And I remember the first day, I guess a week and a half or two later, when I got through the whole day without crying. Two of the planes left from our airport here, and there were just so many people around town affected.

Carol Beth said...

Angie--probably 2 or 3 years after 9/11 one of our friends got married on that day. A lot of people thought they were crazy, but they figured they could make it into a good day. I think that's wonderful--and the same with your grandfather. It's beautiful that even on days of great tragedy, we can celebrate birthdays and weddings and other joyful sides of life.

Thanks to both of you for sharing. Becki, your post almost made me cry--I seem to be on the edge of that repeatedly this morning.

beckiwithani said...

Donal's brother got married on 9/11; I believe it was in 2000. I think the first few years of their anniversary being on that day were the toughest, especially because first anniversaries are supposed to be so special, but they've learned to take the day as their own.

Tiffany said...

I work at a radio station in Kansas. We were in the middle of our morning show and my boss ended up being on the air for some 14 hours straight. We had relatives of listeners who saw the towers go down calling us and giving us reports of the events as they happened. I remember crying so much that day and that week and then when the "war" began...because I had so many friends in the Marines at the time.

Sam said...

I was in a hotel in Phoenix. I had been out walking and came back to find the lobby/breakfast area packed with silent people watching the televisions. I saw the smoke from the first attack and, in disbelief, took the elevator up to my room. I got there and turned on the TV. I think the second attack had just occurred.

Arizona is the same as Pacific this time of year so it is 3 hours earlier than NYC. I watched until I needed to leave for a meeting.

A group of us were scheduled to fly out the next day to Chicago and that was canceled so I drove back to Yuma late in afternoon of 9/11. I was moved by the radio reports of people standing in line to give blood. I was overwhelmed as I listened to a gathering of congressmen and women from the steps of the capitol. They put aside their party, race and other differences to join together in prayer and to sing a hymn.

Our world HAS changed. I listened this past Monday to a young Marine wife who talked about her deployed husband and how much her preschool son loves his dad. She went on to tell us that she grew up "without a dad" so she is overwhelmed by the bonding between the two "boys" in her life, even though her husband has been away serving our nation more than half their marriage.

Kerri said...

I was at work in a tiny cubicle with 4 others with no access to a t.v. when my co-workers husband called to tell her a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Centers towers. We thought at first it was just a freak accident until the calls kept coming in. One of my co-worker turned on a radio but it was hard to imagine what was going on without being able to see it. I got a call from my then-boyfriend (now my husband) who said his unit was headed to NYC and he didn't know when he would be back or when he would be able to call again. I got home around 3 that afternoon and spent the next 2 days watching t.v., crying and waiting to hear from Adam.

Shari said...

I was in the car on my way to the office, when they started talking about the first plane and it probably being an accident and blah, blah, blah...then the news reporters on the radio went silent and shortly thereafter said a second plane had hit and there was no way this could be an accident. I sat in the parking lot for quite a while before I ran into the office to stand in front of the TV with everyone else. We watched all day, no one got anything done, I just remember feeling like it was all so surreal. That this couldn't be happening. When the first tower collapsed the whole room just gasped in horror; I remember someone say that there is no way the same thing would happen to the other tower, then shortly later it was gone as well. I also remember feeling like I should go get Catie from school, I felt like I needed to be with her comforting her and explaining it all to her, but not having any idea how to explain such a tragedy to a 7 year old.

Becky said...

I was at work (Wells Fargo at the time), and my supervisor said that one of the towers had been hit by a plane. We all thought it was just a freak accident, until someone heard on the radio that the second tower had been hit. At that point, we all crowded into the breakroom and glued ourselves to the TV. The higher-ups thought Wells Fargo could be a potential target, so we closed down early that day. I'll never forget being at my father-in-law's house that evening and watching the video of the people jumping to their deaths. It still makes me cry to think of that.

I was so relieved last year when 9/11 came and went without Natalie being born. I know we would have made plenty of happy memories to share along with the awful memories of that day, but I still didn't want her to have to share her birthday with such an awful day in our country's history.

Cathy said...

I was at home getting ready for work when you called me, Beth, and gave me the news. So hard to believe. I felt like I had to talk to everyone I loved. I just needed to hear their voices; I called Becki and Sean and your dad who was out of town and my folks. Even now I often find myself remembering when events happened based on 9/11 - Before 9/11 or After 9/11. For example, I remember we moved into our home the January before 9/11; I can tell you to the day when we got a new area rug because the UPS man came to the door that afternoon (9/11) to deliver it. I got to work and watched it on TV all day - all week,in fact. I opened my email that day and had a happy email from a proud grandma whose granddaughter had been born that day - in the wee hours of the morning; she had written it before the towers were hit. It seems so ironic reading someone's happy musings while in the midst of such grief. Love, Mom

Lyndsay said...

I was at the hotel I worked at at the time. We all went into one of the rooms to watch the TV. We were waiting for our "group teambuilding" event, where about 75 additional people were joining us. They had to keep it going since people were traveling in for it. So, we all went to the park and it was the most surreal thing. I knew the world was in chaos, yet we were at this park, in the sunshine, supposedly having a 'good time'. In retrospect, the only blessing was being away from the TV during that time.

jcyc21 said...

I was in high school when 9/11 happened. It was my sophomore year, I was in a new very small school. There were only about 8 other people in my class. A kid came in and told us about it, but it was before we knew what was going on. We didn't open a single book that day, no rules, no homework... we all just watched the TV all day as the horror unfolded. I remember kids crying because their parents were traveling and they didn't know if they were safe. I remember a lot of us being picked up early to go be with our families.

My brother had gotten married 2 days before, and my mom was supposed to fly home that day. Thankfully she didn't, but it was very scary not knowing if she was safe for awhile.

I remember on the 5 year anniversary of 9/11 watching a program of all the children that have grown up without their mother or father due to 9/11. I guess it was all without fathers, or mostly, because all these women were pregnant when 9/11 happened. It was so sad to think about all these little lives coming into the world, and never being able to know their dads. I couldn't watch it without crying.

Something else that I remember is how the whole US seemed to really band together for a time. There were no longer republicans or democrats; we were all just Americans. I remember the prices of gas dropping unbelievably low...and driving around Austin you would see home-made anti Sadam pictures on the back of cars.

My thoughts and prayers are most definitely with our country tonight. Thanks for your post Beth.

Sandi said...

I remember being in a training class, about four hours away from home. I was an early riser and had to break the news to my co-worker. Needless to say, he didn't believe me until the tears started flowing.

Mommy Vern said...

So glad you posted this. I woke up to the phone ringing over and over. It was first my father, then my mother and finally my stepfather. Each one telling me on the answering machine to go watch the tv right now.

I made my way downstairs as the 2nd tower was hit and watched helplessly as people began jumping from the windows. Tears poured down my face. I remember gasping into the phone, as my mother and stepfather tried to convince me to come home. (I was living in Williamsburg, VA)- They were afraid that someone would try to attack the Hampton Roads area (since it is mostly military.)

I didn't have classes that day or that week, everything was cancelled. Once we did go back, our professors took time to allow us to discuss and deal with the events. Traveling through the tunnel to get to college at ODU was nerve racking for awhile not knowing if life would ever get back to normal. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything.

Yet, as everyone else states the way people stood together is amazing, a true testament of our nation. Unfortunately, as painful as that day was, we cannot forget it.

Rebecca said...

I had just gotten done feeding my sixth month old and turned the TV on to watch Matt Lauer... something I enjoyed every morning. I had bible study that morning at 9:30 and I turned the TV on about 9:02.... I wanted to stay and watch though I needed to leave. when I got to church at 9:40.... people still hadn't heard about it. I called my folks in CA and they didn't even know about it because they didn't have the TV on while getting ready for work. The whole time I was driving to church, I was thinking... God, what is going on???? it was an emotional day.

Carol Beth said...

I just wanted to thank every single one of you who commented. Grief pulls us together; may we never entirely lose the grief of that day.