I will never forget where I was the moment the mighty towers fell. I live in the Mountain time zone (2 hours behind Eastern), so it was still quite early in the morning here. I was already at the hotel where I worked, making sure my convention was running smoothly when a co-worker approached me, asking if “I’d heard about the plane crash yet.”
What plane crash, I’d asked? Her eyes were as wide as could be and her skin had turned a ghostly shade of white.
Immediately, I thought of my dad, who’s a pilot and works in the aviation industry. I thought she was getting ready to tell me my father had been in a plane crash and it took me a minute to realize that he was home and not traveling. I was in no way prepared for what she would say next, that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
Still unaware of the details, I assumed it was a small plane and a genuine accident. Moments later, we found the nearest television in the hotel’s bar and sat in astonishment as we watched the horror unfold. I could not comprehend what I was seeing. How could this be? Was the world ending?
The rest of the morning was a blur until a bomb threat was called into the hotel early that afternoon. I wanted to run as fast as I could but the hotel management was asked to assist in evacuating hotel guests. I didn’t want to do it (I was in the midst of planning my wedding after all), but being moved to action was perhaps the best thing for me, it pulled me out of paralysis and got me moving. Several hours later, it turned out to be a false alarm.
The rest of the day is a blur until later that evening when Mike, my sisters and I gathered at my parents house and sat glued in front of the television, watching President Bush as he tried to make sense of it all and assure the American people that they would do everything they could do to protect us and bring justice to those responsible.
We watched the news long into the night as the details of the attacks and the heroism of the passengers of flight 93 became known, and I later went to bed totally exhausted. The mixture of thoughts and emotions was unique, ranging from confusion to anger to concern for the world my future children would inherit. Waking on September 12, it was becoming clear that we were living in a different world than what we had known before. It’s so hard to fathom that it has been 10 years; so long ago, yet just the blink of an eye.
Where were you on 9/11? This has become my generation’s “question,” much like my parents’ generation would reflect on the assassination of President Kennedy. For us, 9/11 was the “pivot” in our collective history, the day when everything changed.
So…where were you on September 11, 2001?
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