Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not Original But Heartfelt

When I was a little girl I remember my Mom saying that she'd always remember where she was when she found out President Kennedy had been shot. I didn't understand then but I do now.

Seven years ago I got in to my car to drive to work. As I turned on the car the radio turned on and I heard the girl who normally reported the traffic saying that a plane had hit the one of the towers of the World Trade Center. Of coarse this was tragic and horrible but we didn't yet know how bad it would be. The traffic reporter and morning show host were speculating as to what could have happened. Was it an accident? Was there something wrong with the plane? Did something happen to the pilot, like a heart attack? Was the pilot just crazy? That last was close but no one wanted to say what we were all afraid of out loud.

This wasn't a news station but you wouldn't have known it that morning. As I drove to work they kept updating us on the latest information that had been released. What future generations are going to have a hard time understanding is we just didn't know what was going on. We all wanted this to be a terrible accident because the alternative was unthinkable. The second plane hit and when they reported it there was silence for a moment. Silence on the radio is bad. They can be fined if they are silent for more than a couple seconds and the on air people are well trained but this was not something they were prepared for. Suddenly we all knew this wasn't an accident. We were under attack.

They reported the third plan hitting the pentagon shortly before I pulled in to work. My office didn't have Internet access and very few people had radios at their desks so we received our news from the people arriving at our office. When I came in a few people still hadn't heard about the second plane and almost no one knew about the third, flight 93 was probably already down but that news hadn't been broadcast yet.

People were panicking. Clearly this was a coordinated attack. We didn't know what other targets would be in danger. A coworker commented that she was glad she didn't know anyone who worked for the city of San Francisco. Suddenly it occurred to me that my Dad who does work for the city could be in danger. I called my parents home and was glad to find out he hadn't gone in that day. A few people in my office lost their heads and declared that we might be killed and they wanted to go home. The calmer among us pointed out that a small company in a one story building in a town most people have never heard of was not a likely target. I can however understand their instinct to be with their families.

The rest of the day is a blur. I'm sure no work got done. All any of us wanted was news. I'm pretty sure they sent us home early although at that point I was probably in shock like the rest of the nation. I do remember going home and watching the news with Dave and his brother for hours, days really.

My Daughter isn't going to understand when I say I'll always remember where I was when I heard about 9-11. I hope she never does.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I totally agree. What I always think of is Pearl Harbor as a comparison. I think every generation has one. To a different degree, the Challenger explosion is another one.