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Friday, September 11, 2009

I Remember

I was sitting at the computer, entering dimensions from a blue print. The clerk hollered across the room that my daughter was on the phone. I picked up the receiver to hear an excited voice...

"A passenger jet just crashed into the World Trade Center!" What a strange and horrible accident. I shared the news with my co-workers. We all thought it was terrible. We talked a minute about how devastating it is outside of a city, but to crash in New York? There would certainly be a large death toll.

We went back to work, a bit more somber.

A few minutes later, "It's Jenny again." I picked up. "What? Another one? That's so bizarre!" What was happening? "They think what? You're kidding? Oh, my God!"

My co-workers huddled around the radio for news. We didn't have an internet connection in that room. Besides the clerk, I was the only woman. Most of the men were veterans. I can't say for sure, but I think it was harder for them.

Jenny called yet again. Washington, D.C.? Other planes missing? Airports were shut down.

We felt trapped. The world as we knew it was coming to an end, and we were there, stuck in this office space inside a factory, sealed off from the real world. I walked to the restroom by the break area. The monitors were tuned to an outside news station. Very strange. Workers were standing in front of them, their necks stretched back, staring silently at the screens. No one at the vending machines. No one talking. The noise from the machinery drowned out whatever was being said on the TV. All we had were the pictures. Chaos. Surreal. Not here. Overseas maybe, but not here!

I went to my husband's department and told them what had happened. My step-son was in the military. Returning to my area, I learned another plane had gone down.

Finally, in the afternoon, we were free. We went home and turned on the news. Every channel - those same images. The towers crashing down. New York city looking like a war zone.

I couldn't not look. I had to watch. I clung to every word, every theory. They were saying that the last plane may have been brought down by the passengers, to prevent the plane from reaching its planned target. My husband couldn't bear to hear it anymore. What did this mean for his son?

We had just bought seventeen acres in the county, a little over a half-hour away. He wanted to go there and cut wood. He needed the serene setting to make everything all right again. It would never be all right again.

I'll never forget the beautiful and strange sky that day. There were no jet trails. Nothing but blue sky and clouds. It was like being on another planet. We were glad to be at the farm. I took the camera, but discovered the batteries were dead. I decided to run into Xenia to KMart.

I was at the electronics counter paying for my batteries. Some guy was talking to the guy at the register. Word was that they were running out of gas everywhere and stations were raising their prices to $2/gallon! It had been $1.40 that morning. I thought about our near empty tank. I hope it's not true.

I left the store and drove through the parking lot to the street. I could see the long lines of cars waiting at the corner for their turn to get into the station. The world had gone crazy!

We spent a few hours in the fields, trying not to think about what was going on here and there. We then headed home, down the back roads. The gas gauge was low. We turned into Waynesville to find a station. Just like it had been earlier that day in Xenia, cars were lined up in both directions, waiting. We got in line and when it was our turn, paid the $2/gallon just before the pump ran dry, and then headed home.

We came into Springboro to find police cars at the main intersection of town, where two gas stations sat across from one another. There were orange cones and yellow police tape blocking and guiding the traffic through the lots. All the tranquility of the farm was wasted. The little release we had felt, melted quickly away. At home, I watched the news in one room, my husband did not watch in another room.

Although many heroes were born that day, sleep did not come easy. And we will never forget.

13 comments:

Naqvee said...

It was an act very abhorrent by the human race to the human race... same as like the attack on pearl harbor and the atomic bombings on japan! a nauseating act, and too offensive that no words can explain the grief... Im Muslim and it made me crawl down into a hole due to embarrassment . it's a blot on the teachings of Islam as Islam never ever taught this.. the leading prophets [Moses, Jesus & Muhammad never taught this] but this act depict the presence of Satan..

Its Friday today and a very significant day in the lives of the believers! lets join hands together and fight such satanic forces.

The Judgment Day is not far when such cruel people will realize that in the name of GOD they were actually serving SATAN !

peace

Rae said...

Thanks for sharing your perspective from that awful day. My memories are as vivid. I got chills and goosebumps reading your post. The emotions of that day are still near the surface for me and it doesn't take much for me to experience the horror and tragedy all over again. I am contemplating writing my thoughts and if I do I will link back to you.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Thanks for that. I see I am not alone in the vividness of my memories from that day. I posted mine this morning too, and I wondered if anyone else still remembered it with the same clarity I did - every detail, every emotion, every fear, every image burned into my brain forever.

The one thing I forgot, which you reminded me of, was the stillness of the sky that day and for the next several days after. Crystal clear blue sky, with no jet trails, and not a sound to break the silence. It was surreal. I never realized how often the silence is broken by the sound of an airplane until those several days when there were none. The eerie quiet was a haunting reminder of what had happened.

Stephanie Faris said...

Thanks for the beautiful remembrance. I once had a friend who was scheduled for a job interview on one of the floors the plane hit. Her interview was a group interview at 9am. She blew it off, but after the fact when she heard about it, she couldn't stop thinking about all the other people who were interviewing that day and the woman doing the interview, whom she'd spoken with on the phone a few times.

Lazy Writer said...

No, we will never forget.

Rhonda @ Shellbelle's Tiki Hut said...

So beautifully written, such tragic memories. This was a day that will be forever etched in our minds and in our hearts. I too, felt the need to post about it today, as have so many others. Together then and together today.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thank you, Lily, for expressing the emotions you felt.

I lived in Connecticut at the time. People I knew and loved worked in the city. Were they okay? Many hours later, I found out they were safe.

The emotional aftershocks of that day lasted for months. For the first time, I understood what my parents and grandparents felt when Pearl Harbor was bombed. I will carry that memory as long as I live.

chicamom85 said...

That was a beautiful tribute. I was headed to work when I heard it on the radio. We had a little tv at work and I called out to my boss to tell her what had happened. I don't think she comprehended it, she just kept on working and finally came up to watch the second tower getting hit with me. I got so scared, my daughter was in high school. I left and sat in the school parking lot. I don't know why I just had to be near my daughter. I listened to the radio and I prayed. I will never forget it.

Anne

Nancy said...

Thank you for sharing your experience that fateful day. It was pure crazy for so many of us. We can only hope and pray it will never happen again. In the meantime - we will never forget.

SquirrelQueen said...

There have been so many tragic moments in our nations history that I can remember where I was and sometimes what I was doing. As an example, the Challenger disaster. I was driving to work and heard it on the radio but the details and when I got to work we watched the events on tv. Also very tragic but my memories are not that clear.

9/11/2001 I can remember almost every detail from the time I woke up and turned on the computer and saw that a plane had hit the WTC. I can still remember the chills up the back of my neck when they said a second plane had hit.

My husband had just been transferred to Walla Walla and he was living in our motor home here. I was still working across the state in Portland and closing out our house. I can remember our conversation then and one we had a few hours later. I can remember almost every minute of that day.

Lesley said...

Such a sad, sad, day. I couldn't even write about it yesterday. They were replaying the broadcast from 2001 on MSNBC. Watching it, knowing every step that would come next, was just so sad. Like you said, I couldn't not watch it. And I couldn't stand to watch it at the same time.

Jan Mader said...

My memories are clear and intense. I remember that tragic day and offering a prayer of Thanksgiving in the midst of all the tragedy. I knew that He was with us.

Thank you for your post. It was sad, but beautiful. Your emotions told the story.

~*Jessica*~ said...

I remember that day - and the next days with vivid detail. I didn't relax until Tim had called me from Georgia to tell me that he was still in the US, and was not getting deployed as of yet, and were still schedualed for Kosovo. He also told me NOT to watch the News, cause it just freaked me out everytime they would mention military deployment and 10th Mountain Division.