Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Have Passed

I had just taken possession of a storage unit down the road from our house on Sept. 10th, 2001.
I was up bright and early(VERY UNLIKE me to be up so early!) the next morning moving my stuff into storage..  It was Sept. 11th.

While I sat going through emails at my computer I had the tv next to me turned on to the CBS Morning Show.  I was half listening to the tv.
I was trying to finish emails so I could get my first load of stuff out to storage by 9 am. 
I was taking a swig of tea as the Morning Show came back from commercial to close out the show at around 8:50.
The camera was trained on the WTC and smoke was billowing out of one of the towers.  Bryant Gumbel was saying that it appeared that a small plane had gone off course and accidentally crashed into the WTC.
The hairs on the back of my neck raised.  Though it looked tiny on my screen because their camera was so far away, no small plane made what I was looking at!
My first thought was to the '93 WTC bombing.  (At our old house we were within the NYC network affiliates coverage area so I saw massive local NYC coverage of that event.  Back in Feb. 1993 I had a newborn baby and a toddler so I was chained to the house with the tv always on.)
I KNEW the plane was big and this was going to be worse than WTC '93(in damage and lives lost) but I had no clue of what was still to come.

As I sat here alone, staring at the CBS camera shot of the towers with Bryant Gumbel blathering on in the background, I saw on live tv the second plane hit.
I remember I sharply sucked air into my lungs and forgot to breath it out.
I sat paralyzed as the seconds ticked by.

Then I remembered to breath again.
And I started saying, "Oh my G*d....Oh my G*d.....Oh my G*d...." softly, over and over again.

I ran to the phone to call Hubs at work.
He already knew what had happened.  There is a large screen tv in the building's lobby and the security guard at the front desk had called upstairs after the the first plane hit was broadcast on tv.
The company had turned on tv sets on each floor and Hubs could see it from his work space.
I told him to come home.
He said he would as soon as he could.

I went back to the den and sat glued to the tv coverage.
As reports came in that a plane was missing and headed for San Francisco I thought of an online friend who lived near there.
Though I've never met her in person or spoken to her other than online, I called her to warn her not to go to work today.
She thought I was daft as it was just after 7 in the morning there and I woke her up.  But she lives near the airport so I was worried.

 I turned my attention back to the tv coverage.  By now they had reporters in the streets around the towers. 

Then the south tower fell. 
The scenes now on the ground were dark and smoky.  Panic stricken people running, paper and ash flying.  There were scads of alarms going off, like a chorus of chirping electronic birds on the audio coming out from my tv.  The news reporters didn't address those sounds but I knew what they were from the coverage of the '93 bombing.
Those were the firefighter signals that they wear on their gear.  It helps locate downed firefighters during a fire.  When you can't see for the smoke and blazes, you can hear that signal.
Tons of signals were going off.
There were no firefighters at that point to locate after the towers fell.
The sound made me sick to my stomach.

A bit later they started talking about other targets after the Pentagon was hit.
I thought about the nuclear reactor nearby.
Then I thought about the elementary school my kids were in....it is between home and that reactor.
I called the school.  The lines were jammed.  I found out later that panicked parents drove to school and were storming the place searching for their kids. 
I figured the kids were safely in the hands of the grownups at the school.

I kept myself from getting hysterical that no one was home yet.  After word came about Flight 93 going down between Pittsburgh and Johnstown I paced the floor and asked G*d to bring my husband and kids home to me.

My youngest was in half day Kindergarten and came home at noon.  The older grades were released and my other 2 were home at 1.
By 1:30 Hubs was home and I could relax a bit.

A call from SIL who's boyfriend lived in Weehawken, NJ confirmed that the BF was ok and hadn't been in Manhattan that day.  He was a freelance writer who often had business in the city.

Days later we got word that a few parents of kids my kids knew at school were missing.  We are an outer bedroom commuter community for the metro NYC area.  Though it's a 3 hour drive each way, people live here and work in the city (or NE NJ).  Some stay in the city during the week and come home on weekends so they can raise their family in a nicer area(with lower crime, lower cost of living, etc.).
We heard that the father of one of my oldest son's classmates in his parochial school(which he had attended the previous year when we lived outside of Port Jervis NY)had perished in the attack.  He was a NYC firefighter who's family lived in Milford, PA and he commuted in for his job.

My BIL lived in West Orange, NJ. There is a park on a cliff there were he said you could watch the smoke rise from Manhattan for days afterwards.

The hardest part for me was how to explain in an age appropriate way what had happened to a 5, 8 and 10 yr old.  2 of them came home very scared because older kids on the bus were saying outlandish lies about what had happened to try to get them upset.
So they were confused and upset once they arrived home.
Having to keep them calm and get things back to normal in their lives helped me to stay in control of myself.


Otherwise, I just remember being sad, very sad.
It was a sad time.
Empathy for all those people who were murdered while just carrying on with their daily lives.
Even more sadness toward the heroes/martyrs....the firefighters, the policemen/women, the passengers on those planes.

A certain amount of remembering and honoring that time/incident is good.  The coming together as a nation was awesome.
But that first year after wards, the media wouldn't let loose of it.  I thought how can people get past this bad thing if they have to hear about it incessantly?
And then every Sept. 11th since(and the weeks before and after)the media gets the "911 bone", drags it out and won't let it go.
Again, to keep flogging people with 911 is not good for anyone.
For those that were personally touched, let them experience their grief privately and no more parading it out in front of the nation.

Though I've been blogging for years now, I've never blogged about "that day" until now.
The 10th anniversary I just did.
And this will be the only time I blog about where I was, what I did and what I experienced personally.

It's time for this country to get past this wallowing in misery phase.
This is not the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of man, nor is it the worst thing that has happened to our country.
It IS the worst tragedy of our generation-dare I say so far?, especially because it involved private citizens and not the military during a time of war.

Previous generations would tell you that Pear Harbor was the worst tragedy of their generation.
And long gone generations would tell you that the Civil War was the worst tragedy of all in the USA.

Let's just hope that it's the last large scale tragedy and that future generation don't have to live through something like this, or worse.

Never forget but keep on truckin'!

Sluggy






3 comments:

  1. I just posted a blog about pallets and 9/11. I said so much less than you and felt I was saying too much even though I had the same emotions and heard about my daughter's (in NYC) thoughts and fears and actions that day. It seems many bloggers are taking time to speak today. And, I don't think you belabored the point. I will never forget where I was when JFK was killed or when 9/11 happened. Oh, and my daughter called me that morning ten years ago... on my birthday...yes, September 11 is my birthday...65 today...sigh. Several bloggers are saying today is their birthday, also.

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  2. PracticalP--I hope you have a Happy Birthday Linda! I have another online friend who celebrates a 9/11 birthday as well. 65 is a big one tho....all those senior citizen perks AND a social security check too...woot! ;-)

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  3. Thanks. Yeah, the perks...lol. It seems I need major back surgery, so age is not great right now...lol. I ate my way through yesterday.

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