I remember that day well. Jody had gotten up before me and was getting ready for work when the phone rang. It was a co-worker of mine (with a Chicken Little history) who greeted Jody with the words “We’re going to war.” He was obviously confused and figured she was over-exaggerating something (again). She told him to turn on the tv.
I was getting up around that time and he told me of the phone call and we went downstairs to watch TV. At that point both World Trade Center towers had already fallen.
I remember bawling my eyes out and having a general sense of hysteria. What was going on? What did all of this mean? Do I go take a shower and go to work business as usual? What?
The first thing I did was go downstairs to wake up my sister who had recently moved in with us. I think I was still crying when I told her the World Trade Center was gone. She came upstairs to watch the TV with us.
I know I got into work late that morning, but the place was swarming. I worked at a newspaper. Not a large one, but the only one in my city with a circulation of 20,000 or so. It had already been decided that we would put out a special edition that morning.
I was an editorial assistant at the time, meaning I wrote briefs, calendar items and obituaries. Not glamorous, but somebody’s got to do it. Everyone was so busy trying to get interviews, information, etc., and I remember feeling ridiculous typing about upcoming events, etc., when who knows how many people had died that day and even what the world would be like in the next few days.
My dad called me sometime that morning just to make sure I was ok. I was relieved to hear from him and hear that both he and my mom were fine too. I recall thinking what if we lose phone connections around the country, etc.? What if we can’t get in touch with our loved ones? So I was glad that he called.
One of the reporters in my office had an aunt who worked at the WTC (I believe on one of the upper floors). She wrote an article about her concern for her aunt that ran on our front page. Her aunt was one of the thousands who lost their lives that day.
I didn’t personally know anyone who died but I was acquainted with a man who worked in one of the WTC buildings – #5 I think – who shared with me his experience that day. So frightening.
In the days and weeks that followed 9/11/01, I became glued to the TV. I wanted to know everything. I was obsessed and it wasn’t healthy. There came a point when I had to stop watching. I was overcome with the images being shown over and over again and I was so scared about the future of our country and world.
Jody and I talked about it and he helped me realize that it did no good for me to live in fear. If something else was going to happen, it would, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. And to get us to live in fear was what the terrorists wanted. It wasn’t healthy for me. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to bring children into a world like this because it seemed so scary and how could I protect them? Well, thankfully I got over that – though I certainly still do my fair share of worrying about my daughter. But imagine if I didn’t get over it? I’d be missing out on one of the greatest joys of my life!
Bringing us back to the present, Jody and I watched “9/11” last night – the documentary made by two French brothers who had set out to make a documentary about a rookie firefighter becoming a man and ended up with the only known footage inside the World Trade Center that day. It’s amazing footage and very sensitively edited. I’m very glad that I watched it for the perspective of the firefighters and those inside the towers that day, but I’m also glad that I waited several years after 9/11 to watch it. I think I would’ve been way too emotional to watch it right when it came out.
While we cannot and should not live in fear, September 11, 2001 is a day that should never be forgotten. It is a day that changed the lives of so many people and the world forever. My heart goes out to all who lost loved-ones that day.