Thursday, September 11, 2008

I will remember...

Seven years ago, I had a 10 month old that was going through a bad habit of waking at 4:30AM- screaming for a bottle. I had a routine of going to her room in a zombie state, bottle in hand, and feeding her as I sat in the rocking chair in her room. Not being a morning person, the broken sleep was more than I could stand. I stumbled my way back to my bed and cozied in. My husband would leave for work at 5:30, right as I was getting the baby and myself back to sleep.

My 5 year old was just a few days away from starting Kindergarten. Luckily, I had trained him well enough to pour cereal and turn on cartoons for he and his 2 year old sister as I caught up on my beauty sleep!

I remember the clock read 7:58 (Central time) and the phone rang. I remember cursing my husband in my mind for dare waking me out of my slumber before my babysitter, Dora the Explorer's time was up. I'm sure my tone of voice was not welcoming to my neighbor, a friend and fellow stay at home mom, who was actually on the other end of the phone.

She asked if I was watching TV. I recall trying to 'play off' the fact that I was sound asleep while my kids fend for themselves. I'm, uh, cleaning, the television is on Nickelodeon, but no, I'm not watching it, why?

She goes on to say that she assumed that I was watching kid's TV, like her, and that I probably had no idea of what was going on. Her husband had just called her and told her to turn on the news- that the World Trade Center had just been hit by an airplane.

Let me say that I was relatively young, very naive, non-political and a horribly ignorant Midwestern. I didn't even know what the World Trade Center was. I turned on the TV and was immediately enthralled in the tragedy. I had no idea what any of it meant, at that point, but I couldn't take my eyes off of it and wanted to learn.

My husband called shortly after my neighbor. He had been in a class and was given a 15 minute break and caught the news. He is a history nut and a policeman. I remember two things he said... 1.) The people in this class don't care, they don't get it! 2.) You know this means we're at war, right?

He was horribly disturbed by the fact that his class continued on after a short break- even with the knowledge of what had happened. This was still shortly after the first plane hit. There were still reporters justifying the acts as 'a possible accident'. I didn't know any better, they could have been right, for all I knew. But, my husband, the conspiracy theorist, knew- from that first moment. I dismissed him, at first, as I usually do. Then, I watched the second plane hit as I was living and breathing!

The news commentators slowly began unraveling the dark, ugly truth that we have all come to know today. I sat in front of the television for 48 hours straight- I may have dozed off for a couple hours here and there, but as the facts, personal stories, and gritty emotion poured out of, otherwise monotonous anchors, I couldn't pull myself away.

In my little part of the world, I was relatively unscathed, on a personal basis. However, one of my neighbors, Kelly, had a brother that had a business meeting at the World Trade Center that morning. He had flown from Kansas City that morning and Kelly had spoken to him after the first plane hit- all was well. He hadn't arrived at the designation, yet, but hung around and still planned to make his meeting, after all had been cleared.

After the second plane hit, Kelly felt confident that he was out of harm's way. She still made efforts to call him on his cell phone to make sure. A stranger answered his cell phone which was lying on the streets of New York. Some members of her family spent the next week in New York hospitals in the 'search' for the missing and unidentified that we all so eerily remember being pasted up and down the city's scape. Sadly, within days, they learned that he had been hit on the street by a large piece of flying debris from the second plane's entrance and killed.

I remember our neighborhood having a candlelight vigil and Kelly breaking down and falling to her knees. I remember all of us rushing to help her up and comfort her, as nearly impossible as that was. I remember the goose bumps, the tears, and the helplessness I felt were overwhelming. I remember the new found feeling of patriotism- the pride I felt with every flag that lined our streets. I remember the anger and the uncertainty of our future as Americans.

I cried a lot and hugged my kids more. This was my "JFK" moment. I would always know "where I was when...".

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C said...

Yeah...there isn't much else to say about it. I purposely avoided posting about this today, b/c I didn't feel I had anything to offer. My hope is that we will all be well in this world today.


Jill said...

We were living outside NYC... while my husband (who is a Federal Agent) was at work right around the corner from the World Trade Center.

I was at Starbucks when I heard the news. I didn't believe it.

I couldn't reach my husband for 4 hours. It was a horrible day.

He worked on recovery efforts for weeks after work... where New Yorkers would line the streets and hand out food and water for all the workers. It was unbelievable.

I had only seen my husband cry once before that day... on our wedding night... On 9/11 - and every 9/11 since then, he bawls. Those nightmares will never leave him - or me.

HappyHourSue said...

I do this every year, but I've been crying on and off all morning, watching specials on TV and videos on YouTube. I, like you, feel it's important to remember those who died today.

I was sleep-deprived with a one year old too. I remember hearing that one of the planes was full of kids on a field trip and I completely lost it.

God bless all the families.

3boys247 said...

Thanks for sharing your memories. It certainly was our JFK moment. I hope your friend is doing well, as well as can be expected.

Merrie said...

Your husband is one smart cookie. By the time I saw what was happening, it was basically over, and the theories were out. MY husband didn't even call me that day. Stayed at work and I guess I talked to him at some point...when I called him. *sigh*

Jormengrund said...

I can remember how silent it was while digging through all of that wreckage.

I'd been to New York before, and it's a busy and lively city.

But those weeks spent digging through the rubble was like turning over rocks and dirt in an abandoned mine.

Sure, there was talk, and there were calls for survivors, and the sudden silences when someone would think they'd found something. Those were some of the worst times..

But now, looking back on it all, at least I did what I could to help. It might not have been much, but I just had to do something for those folks.

God bless the families and friends of those victims.

Candy said...

Thanks for sharing your story, and for dropping by my blog today.

As I was reading, I saw your husband leaves for work at 5:30 and I thought, "heh that's funny, mine too. I wonder if he's a teacher."

Small world :)

Annie said...

My husband called to tell me. I was teaching a high school class at the time. I turned on our TV and let the kids watch all day...i knew it was, sadly, history in teh making.
My ex-boyfriend was a NYC firefighter. I didn't know it at the time, but he transferred stations the month before. Needless to say, knowing the location of his station and where the Towers were, I thought he was dead.
I was estactic nearly 10 days later when he called and let me know he was ok. He had finally come up for air from searching the rubble and was returning calls.
Had he not changed stations, he would most likely have died. His old station was wiped out in the collapse. Thankfully his 2 other brothers, 1 fireman, 1 port authority, also survived. Their family was very blessed that day. All were there, none were hurt.

Steph said...

I was pregnant with my youngest and living outside of DC at the time. I was driving my 4 year old to preschool with my 3 year old in tow when I heard about the first plane. At that point, still thought it was an accident. Went to a play date at my neighbors and that's when we heard about the other plane and saw the first building fall. I drove so fast to pick up my son at preschool then went to the middle school to get my other four kids (fortunately I was one of the first parents there to pick up their child so I beat the rush) kids were really confused because I was crying and they didn't understand what was going on. most cell phone coverage was down in our area because by then, the pentagon had been hit but I amazingly reached my husband who was in baltimore and he was on his way home. we spent the rest of the day glued to the tv knowing that life as we knew it would never be the same. I remember a feeling of helplessness and fear about what kind of world I was bringing this new baby into.
one of our neighbors, who was also pregnant at the time, lost her husband at the pentagon that day...breaks my heart every time I see her and her kids...

Manic Mom said...

We were over here in CA & felt so out of it for days. We prayed, watched & prayed. I pray every Sept. 11th for their families. Thank you for sharing your story.

jill jill bo bill said...

I was taking a college biology class. School was closed and I drove to my kid's schools and brought them home. I didn't let them out of my sight for two days.

Someone told me that these were the End Times. It's so scary to think that this can happen again in our lifetime.

amelia bedelia said...

I am so sorry for your friend. What a sad story. You are right, we all will remember where we were when we heard the news. I was at on my way to work, I heard it on the radio. COle was sick and Hubby was home with him. We were on the phone with each other all day, no words, just watching tv together, but separated. thank you for sharing you story.

Rochelle said...

I'm with you now and was then too. I only had one child and he was 9 months old. I was hysterical.

I'm glad to see you, HHS, and others pay tribute. No one should let this day pass without feeling the sadness of those who lost a loved one in 2001.

maggie said...

I, too, was watching coverage of the first plane when the second one hit while the world watched, and it definitely changed things, everything, really, so instantly. I watched a lot of news, too, unable to pull myself away, and I'm not sure that it's all that different even now, just that I spend more time reading about some of the nearly 3000 people lost. It still boggles the mind. Thank you for writing this. I needed to read it today.

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