Where Were You?

Some things you'll just never forget - the birth of a child, the death of a parent, or where you were when you heard the news about the 9-11 attacks.

I was in my office just starting to answer my email when an urgent message came through from a friend in Georgia.  She said an airplane had just crashed into the World Trade Center.  I can't explain it but my first thought was that it was terrorist related.  A few quick emails flew back and forth, then I ran upstairs to see if it was being covered on TV.  It was.

I couldn't believe my eyes.  A gaping hole in one of the towers was billowing ugly black smoke.  I had to tell my husband.  He and our son were still in bed, but I knew this was important enough to wake them.  I told Dan what had happened and he immediately said that it must be terrorists.  I turned on the TV in the bedroom, turned to the cable news station and as if on cue a second plane crashed into the second World Trade Center tower.  With the understated wisdom that is Dan, he simply said, "We're under attack."

Soon reports came in that the Pentagon was hit and that a fourth plane may have been involved.  My mind was still trying to grasp what was happening.  My spirit grieved.  Dan and I watched in stunned silence as the first WTC tower collapsed, followed by the second moments later.  I was in shock.

When information was initially released about the hijacked flights my fear grew.  American Airlines Flight 11, the flight from Boston to Los Angeles, sparked mew concerns.  My brother often travels from San Diego to Boston on business.  I had to find out if he was safe.  Relief washed over me when he answered his office phone.  He was fine, although Flight 11 was the exact flight he had taken numerous times in the past.  Then he and I set out to learn if our father was safe.

Just a few days before, our father had left on vacation to Philadelphia and Atlantic City.  On 9-11 he was scheduled to travel from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.  My brother left a message at the hotel our father was going to, then sent me an email with the hotel's name and phone number.  Then the waiting began.  It took several hours, but I finally got to speak with our dad.  He was find and had no idea what had happened.  He was stunned as I told him of the events that had unfolded that morning.  Thankfully by the time he was scheduled to fly home, air space had been opened and he made it home safely.

During the days and weeks that followed the attack my shock turned to rage as I came to terms with the fact that there were babies and children on the hijacked flights and in the World Trade Center.  All I could do was hold our son tight and thank God for his safety.  I was also very proud to learn of the heroic efforts of the passengers on United Flight 93.  And now, in this post-9-11 world, I firmly believe that any American would show that same moxey in a situation like that.  Just as my parents and people in their generation will never forget where they were or what they were doing when President John F. Kennedy was murdered, I will never forget where I was when the innocence of our world came crashing down.  I was in the heartland of the United States being affected forever by events taking place thousands of miles away.  Where were you?

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