I was a senior in college on 9/11. The only class I had on Tuesday was Latin American Studies, at 11am. I'd been up late studying the previous night, so I slept in and caught the UT shuttle bus around 10:15 to campus. I hadn't turned on the TV that morning, so I had no clue what had happened in NYC. I noticed that the bus was eerily quiet, and I briefly heard the driver's radio and a DJ saying "the worst terrorist attack in American history". I got off the bus and ran into a friend. She said there had been some kind of attack in NYC, but most people had been in classes all morning, so details were sketchy. I had a friend pick me up from campus, and when I got home I saw on Fox News the devastation for the first time. I think I watched the news for hours. I couldn't turn it off. Then I remembered that my dad was supposed to be in NYC that day, and I lost it. I managed to get ahold of him, only to discover that his trip had been cancelled and he was safe in Houston. He was crying. My dad is in insurance, so he knows tons of people in New York. He'd been on the phone all morning, trying to find out if friends and colleagues were ok. He told me they'd get confirmation that someone was ok, only to find out later that they were dead. It was shocking to hear my dad so upset. So many friends and colleagues gone. He has some pretty eerie 9/11 stories. The one that gets me every time is of a meeting that was supposed to held at World Trade Center, tower 2. Several of his colleagues were supposed to have a board meeting in the boardroom of the WTC, but the meeting got so large they had to move it to another location, in another building. Instead of dying that day, which they most certainly would have, given that the plane flew directly into their floor, they survived simply because of the size of their meeting. My dad was in NYC once they reopened Newark Airport. JFK and LaGuardia were still closed, so he flew into Newark and took the ferry over into Manhattan. Their hotel was located within the no traffic zone, so they had to get out of the cab and walk several blocks to the hotel. He went down to Ground Zero, and he said it was still burning and smoking. He's been going to New York for several decades, and he said he has never seen the city so silent. People were just shellshocked. I think one reason 9/11 is always emotional for me is because I remember sharing these experiences with my dad, who means the world to me.
This morning, as I was watching some of the tributes on NBC, I remembered that Tuesday, 12 years ago. They were showing footage of the firetrucks, and Sophie excitedly said, "Look! Firetrucks mommy"! Such innocence. To me, the sight of those firetrucks evokes both sad and proud emotions, because I know that many of those men and women ultimately gave their lives that day. But for my daughter, they evoke excitement and joy, because what two year old doesn't love firetrucks?
I naively hope that she never experiences another 9/11. I saved all of the newspapers and magazines from 9-11-01, and someday when she is old enough, we will go through them together. She is a post 9/11 baby. She will never know what it's like to meet someone at the gate at an airport, or what it's like to go through airport security with her shoes on. But 9/11 has made her mama even more patriotic, so she will be brought up loving America, and we will never forget.
|We will never forget.|