Thursday, September 11, 2008

9-11-01: Never Forget

(c) 2001 The Record, (Bergen County, NJ).


I will never forget what happened on this day seven years ago, not for as long as I live. I will never forget where I was when I first heard the awful news.

I was sleeping soundly in my bed with Kiki, who was just 8 months old. We had fallen back to sleep after an early morning nursing session. The phone jolted me awake just before 9 am. I answered it quickly hoping to not wake the baby sleeping next to me. I saw the caller ID, realized it was Bill and felt a twinge of annoyance for him calling so early. He knew how precious sleep was to me and I was surprised he'd call. The minute I answered I knew something was wrong. The tone of his voice spoke volumes and any annoyance I had felt quickly melted away. He told me "turn on the tv." I said "What?Why?" He said "Just turn it on. Now." I sat up and turned it on, my heart beating so quickly (it hadn't had a chance to recover from the phone startling me). My eyes were still a bit fuzzy, but I managed to turn it on and see a tall building with smoke billowing out of it. He was trying to explain to me about the airplane hitting the tower but all I could see is what I thought were several planes hitting the World Trade Center. I wasn't completely awake and didn't realize they kept replaying the same video and that it was just one plane. I was at a loss for words and was already crying. I remember the horror as a second plane hit the other tower and beginning to realize it was terrorism. I remember the confusion at not understanding the severity of it all, not knowing if they were jet planes or smaller planes. And the reality of it all when we did learn they were jets full of people. I didn't understand what was happening. I really doubt anyone did at the time, and even when we learned more, never understood why. What we were seeing was stuff we'd only seen happening in other parts of the world, never here at home.

I continued to be glued to the television and the phone for a good part of the day. I went about my daily business as a mom. After all, my sweet little 8 month old had no clue what was going on. I think she sensed something wasn't right as she was particularly clingy that day. I am sure she could sense my somber mood.

I remember being so scared, afraid to leave the house even for a second. I was also very afraid for the people of New York City and Washington D.C. How horrifying to witness such tragedy in person.

Bill came home early from work that day and I will never forget how eerily quiet it was outside. So strange not to hear the constant noise of airplanes flying overhead. We were watching coverage of the attacks on tv, when out of no where we heard a loud "BOOM" and the ground shook. That has to be one of the scariest moments I can ever remember experiencing. I thought for sure our time had come. Bill told me to stay put and went outside to investigate. I didn't want him to go, but not much I could do to stop him. I sat and waited, and worried, waited and worried some more. Finally I couldn't stand it any longer, and I went to the front window to look outside. I expected the worst but to my relief saw Bill talking to a few neighbors across the street. They had obviously heard the noise too and had the same reaction we did. I went outside and quickly learned that what we had heard was a sonic boom from fighter jets that had flown overhead. PHEW!

I remember being scared for a while. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything. I still to this day get nervous when I go to big public events such as football games, concerts, etc. I have ridden on airplanes, subways, etc. since September 11 and still get the same sense of fear, which is something I had never once worried about in those same situations before. Sure, I hate flying, that is certainly nothing new. However, since September 11, I have another reason to be nervous when I fly.

It took a while, but I learned to not let the fear get the best of me. I continue to go about my life and not let what happened keep me from living my life. I know that is easier for me, because I experienced the tragedy from afar, watching it unfold on televison. I've seen the images a thousand times, and they never get easier to watch and still bring tears to my eyes.

I do wish the media would quit showing the images over and over again. I don't think any one person needs to see that again. I think we all have those images forever embedded into our brains. I can't imagine losing a family member or living through that tragedy in person, and then to have to come home to see it on t.v. I am also disgusted that many politicians have used this tragedy for personal gain, to instill fear and get votes, making their "tribute" videos and bascially exploiting the victims for political gain. Shameful.

I loved how we came together as a country that day, and how patriotic everyone was, wearing red, white and blue and flying the American flag. I wish it was always that way, and that this silly infighting would stop. We need to work together as a country and remain strong. Stick to one another instead of working against each other. We need to do that as a country, not just when tragedy strikes, but in our everyday lives. We are after all the UNITED States of America.

I really hope that we as a country never forget what happened that day. The people who died and suffered deserve to always be remembered. I know tomorrow I will be honoring them by saying a few prayers and wearing the red, white and blue. I also know that for the rest of my life, I will honor them by living my life the way I should, and go about my daily activities without any fear or hesitation, but I WILL NEVER FORGET.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Great post, Kristi!
I was remembering where I was this morning as I was waling to the bus stop. I was teaching a classroom full of second graders when the principal pulled me into the hall with the news. You can't imagine how hard it was to walk back in and continue teaching as if nothing was wrong - not knowing what was going on until my break - much later. And, I remember rushing to the sitter's to hold my then 2 month old for the entirety of my lunch break, and not wanting to leave her to go back to the classroom. Now, the little "2 month old" is IN second grade, but the memories that day evokes are as strong as the emotions I was feeling that day. No, though we must move on, we must never forget.