Sunday, September 11, 2011
September 11th - 10 years later
I woke up on September 11, 2001, just like any other weekday. It was a beautiful fall day. The sky was clear blue and the air was cool and crisp here in Northern NY, just like it was in New York City. I got ready for my job as a Federal Technician on Fort Drum and got my kids off to school. My (now ex) husband was off to classes at SUNY-IT in Utica.
We had the radio on at work mostly for background noise when I heard the music interrupt and the announcer state that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. My initial reaction made me think of the aircraft that hit the Empire State Building in 1945 (actually it's not the only time as another plane hit 40 Wall Street in 1946). Although it had been a while, with the proximity of the airports around the city, it was possible it was an accident.
Then at 9:03am, the second plane hit and I said out loud, "This isn't an accident!" We were all stunned. Eventually the television in the break room came on and there were the Towers...black smoke billowing across the beautiful blue sky. Then 9:37am come the report that the Pentagon was hit and 10:03am, Flight 93 goes down in Shanksville. Sometime during all this, Fort Drum is locked down...I tried to call my husband and we got a few words in but his phone was dying and I was worried about my children, who were at school. At one time, I went outside to look at the sky, half expecting to see our doom come by way of air here on the post. I found an empty room in my building and cried.
I remember when the first Tower fell. The man standing next to me was a volunteer Fire Chief and as we watched numbly and in disbelief, he simply said, "There it goes."
As a member of the National Guard, we were required to sign in and report and were told to go home to await anything new. I went right to my kids and hugged them with all my heart. I wasn't sure if I was going to leave them soon or not. Luckily, we weren't activated (although a part of me really wanted to...that's what I joined the Guard for!) That night, after the kids went to bed, I cried some more....
I cried for my children because I felt the world I knew...the world with some joy and innocense was gone.
I cried for myself because I had wasted so much time worrying about little shit when the world was generally good and now it had all changed.
But mostly I cried for all those faces I saw and all the voices I heard. People walking away from those Towers covered in dust, looking dazed. All of those people (a few with roots in NNY like Richard O'Connor, Watertown Class of 1970, and Shannon Adams, Clifton-Fine Class of 1994) that went to work or boarded a plane and never saw their families again. All of the family members holding pamphlets and photos begging for someone to please help them find their loved one.
Once word got out that Osama Bin Laden was responsible, for the first time in my life that I remembered, I said, "We should carpet bomb the shit out of that area until it's nothing but glass!" Of course, that was out of anger and my opinion has changed because killing their innocents doesn't bring ours back.
Ten years later and it still affects us, but in different ways. We're still at war and our soldiers are coming home broken in mind and body. Our country is struggling economically and sometimes morally. The unity we all felt after the Attacks has given way to politcal, religious, and ideological bickering.
This day, ten years later, not only would I like to see us remember those we lost on 9-11, but to also remember that feeling of unity that we felt. We seemed to have lost it.