Eleven years ago, on 911, I was driving to the DMV to get my tags for my car. I turned the radio on and heard the hosts talking about some crazy stuff going on in New York. It seemed so unreal, I thought at first that it was some morning show joke. I remember thinking to myself, “Good Lord, guys! This is not even remotely funny!” I turned the channel, and heard them saying the same thing – planes had hit the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. I started to realize that this was not some morning show joke, but reality. I was so shocked, I missed my turn four times, and finally decided to go back home and put the news on. As soon as I got home, I turned on the TV and stayed there, watching the events unfold, for hours.
My story is not a particularly interesting or exciting one, but it is pretty typical of many Americans around the country that day. Like many people, I have contacts and people I care very much about on the East Coast. At that time, my parents were still living in New Jersey, just outside of Princeton. I lived there from the time I was in 5th grade until I graduated high school, so many friends and classmates still lived there with their families as well. I had graduated from college in upstate New York, and most of my close friends from there all lived in the lower portions of the state. My sister had just gotten married in May of that year. My brother, I think, was still attending College there, but he may have already moved to Wyoming to attend college at the University of Wyoming. On this particular day, it also happened to be my parent’s 30-year anniversary.
I tried to call my mom all morning, but I was not able to get through. I knew my brother-in-law worked in New York City sometimes, so I wanted to see if he was alright, and my Dad traveled into the city for business a lot, so I wanted to be sure this was not one of those days. I finally got a hold of my mother at about 1:30pm. I learned that my brother-in-law was alright, as was everyone else in my family except for my Dad. He was in Chicago that day, at a show in the Sears Tower. At that time, no one knew the intentions of the terrorists, so the Sears Tower was one that was on alert. My Mom had not heard from my Dad yet, so she was not sure how he was doing. She worked in Princeton, about 15 minutes from our house, as an English Teacher at Berlitz, and she was done early and was going home at about 9:30am. She told me it took her over two hours to get home that day because the traffic was practically stopped. All the emergency responders were heading into the city to help out, and everyone was trying to get out of the way. Everyone was also trying to get home to loved ones and to find out what happened to those within their own families. She said she could see the smoke from the towers overhead, and she could smell the burning. She was in the center of New Jersey, so that was amazing to me.
Several hours later, my Dad called me and told me he was alright. He had been evacuated from the building and went to a safer place after the planes hit, but as we all know now, Chicago was not one of the intended targets. My whole family was still in tact and was OK. All of my close friends were OK as well, so I was lucky in that regard. Many of my friends had loved ones that died that day, though. We all lost a part of ourselves that day. Most of us remember to this day, what we were doing when we learned about 911. That day will never be forgotten by so many Americans, and so many other people around the world. For the days and weeks after the tragedy, I was grateful for all the well-wishes and prayers sent to our country from so many across the world. (Yes, I know about the cheering by the others, but I choose to leave them out of this testimonial). I remember how close the people of this country were. As divided as we can get from time to time when it comes to politics, when our country gets hit, we all come together. It is no different from a family that has their feuds and frustrations with each other, but when tragedy strikes, we come together and put our differences aside. I remember some ads I saw around that time, and still see from time to time. Check them out below:
As this day comes around again, we once again remember those we lost on that day. To all the people that lost a loved one, to all the first responders, and to all the military that served, Thank You, and know that America as a whole will Never Forget.
Below are a few images I thought were pretty cool and appropriate for the day. Enjoy and reflect.
Click the image or link below to help improve my rankings on Top Mommy Blogs! Thank you!