Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where Were You When The World Stood Still?


     For as long as I can remember, the first thing that I do when I open my eyes in the morning is turn on one of the news channels. Usually, I turn on CNN just to see if anything has happened during the night, and at 7:00 a.m. I flip over to Good Morning America. September 11, 2001 was just like any other day. I was getting ready for work, the television on in the background as I showered, dried my hair, put on my makeup and grabbed a yogurt for breakfast. I was supposed to be at my office at 8:00 a.m., and it was only a 2 minute drive. At some point, I realized that the news “noise” had taken a different shift, and something was happening. I recall sitting down on the couch, and watching the screen, thinking that there had been a terrible accident in New York.


     I picked up the telephone and called my co-worker (who was my closest friend) and I remember saying to her “are you watching this?” She was, and for a brief moment we quietly spoke about the magnitude of this “accident.” Seconds later, linked by telephone line from our houses a few blocks from each other, we watched together as the second plane flew into the tower, and we knew. The world as we knew it changed at that moment, as two friends in a small Midwestern town hung on to our telephones for dear life and cried together.

     We did not have “normal” jobs. My friend is the co-pastor of a Presbyterian Church. My official title was Administrative Assistant which I always said meant “church hostess.” I did everything from the church finances, newsletter and bulletins, to running interference for the ministers. There were also times when I was cleaning out a refrigerator, arranging rides, or simply talking to someone from the congregation who was having a bad day. We both knew that this was going to be a bad day for everyone. It was also my friend’s birthday, a day we were going to celebrate…a birthday soon forgotten.


     We watched in horror for quite a while. Neither one of us willing to hang up the phone. Her husband, our other minister was in Chicago for the day, and she was afraid for him. My son had just started college 3 hours away, and I wanted him home. After about an hour we decided we had to do something for the people of our church. I grabbed a television set, and we met at the church. We planned an evening prayer service very quickly. I called all the members of our church, and we put an announcement on the radio for the community. All through the day people stopped into my office. They didn’t want to be alone. They just wanted to be in the church. They wanted to be doing something, even if it was simply folding the programs for the special service, or bring us donuts or lunch to get us through the day.

     It has been nine years, and I still remember every detail. I was living in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and I knew that my town would never be a “target” but I was still afraid. I knew that life had changed forever. I knew my children would never feel completely safe again, and that the young daughter of my minister friends would not remember a time before 9/11. We as friends had been through something together that would link us forever.

     We must never forget.

18 comments:

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Sorry about the spacing...blogger won't let me fix it.

Marydon said...

We can never forget ...
Have a beautiful weekend ~
TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

FrugalMom said...

This is a day I think few of us will ever forget. I had just showed up on my first day of work at my college campus, and when we watched the second plane crash live on tv, everyon were in tears. My boss's sister worked at the WTC, and it was just a horrifying time for everyone, as so many of my new co-workers and fellow students had friends and relatives in Manhattan and in the WTC. I remember trying to explain to the kids I was babysitting what had happened....it was just too close, and it was the day that my beloved NYC lost its magic. Just days before I had gone on one of my explorations, because I really did love the city.

Fortunately my boss' sister turned out to be alright - only - because she had stopped by a nearby bank to get some cash before going to the office. She later came to work at our PR office, but as we all know so many lives were lost, and even more touched in horrific ways by this tragedy.

My university was on top of a big hill, and everything was visible from the campus dorm.

FrugalMom said...

BTW a year later - on the anniversary of this day, I brought my first son home from the hospital.

LindyLouMac said...

A day none of us anywhere in the world will ever forget. We were still living in the UK but already planning our dream of moving to Italy.

Jenny said...

Oh my criminy. Did you really have that title and that illustration. That is just craziness.

Oh gee, I forgot to read the story....BRB!

What a story, Sue. It was life changing, wasn't it? And I think, truly the world stood still.

xinex said...

I remember that morning very clearly, Sue and it still saddens me. I will never forget it....Christine

La said...

Thank you for sharing your experience on the anniversary of this most sad day. La

Angie said...

Thanks for reminding us, Sue. The one good thing that came from that day was a nation that stood together and a world that offered its support.

Gypsy Heart said...

Sue, that day...and every moment of it...is etched in my memory too. I had just arrived at work ~ American Airlines ~ when the first plane hit. We had no idea it was ours. :-( Shortly all management were called to a meeting and after that, we hit the ground running...working mandatory 12 hrs each day & 6 day work week. Those were the minimum hours, however, there was no sleep at home. The calls from the flight crews families and friends were handled my some of my people and the rest of the group handled the calls from the public. We can never forget is so true!

xoxo
Pat

Melody said...

What a poignent story. We will remember.

Natasha said...

My husband and I will never forget what happened on this terrible day either. He woke me up at about 10pm as he had been watching the late night news. At first we thought it was a hoax of some kind as it seemed inconceivable that something like that could really happen....

I too have been thinking of all of the families and friends who lost loved ones that day.

Lest we forget.

Blessings,
Natasha.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Oh Sue
You know even all the way over here.. the shock and fear really was numbing.. You know it was late at night here.. I had been watching tv and thought that the west wing was on.. until i realized it was on every channel!!.. then watching the news I saw the towers go down. it was at that point disbelief and fear entered our lives...I was online to a friend in Uk and her office building was being evacuated.. so the fear was spreading globally.. You know I didn't sleep all night.. afraid of what other terrible events might occur during the night...

My heart goes out to all the victims and their families and all the brave fireman and other services who fought valiantly on that day...

I too say.. Lest We Forget

xxx Julie

Kathleen said...

I was getting blood work done at the hosp. A nurse came in and said she just heard on the radio about a plane flying into the tower.
My son was scheduled to fly from Logan Airport that day on business. I told her that and asked what airport it had left from. I could see from the look on her face she knew, but she said, I don't know.
It was hours before we found out he was safe.
We lost many friends that day, and our friends lost their children. Attending Memorials and Funerals was a daily thing for awhile. It was so depressing. I dread the anniversary every year, and this year it was worse with the controversy... Those who lost love ones should be allowed to vote, not politicians. Very sad.

Sherry said...

Isn't it unbelievable still! I was pulling in the parking lot at college and the radio announced it. The announcer kept saying this is real? And it was a question. The announcer and everyone else couldn't believe this would happen. I drove home from college that afternoon and all the way home through each small town the gas stations were being overrun. I got home and waited almost an hour in line to fill up my tank so I could get to college the next day. I will never forget.
Sherry

Bunny, THE PARIS HOUSE said...

I will never forget that day. I brought my children to school and went for a 5 mile run. I was so happy, running in the bright vivid blue sky on such a glorious day. I had no idea what was happening only one hour from my home. I walked in the house after my run and my husband said his mother just called and for us to put on the TV and we watched in horror as the towers went down. I still go running and every time the sky looks like it did on that sad day I think of 9/11 and the souls who lost their lives.
God Bless
Bunny

Anita@Theycallmejammi said...

I was at work and walking through the deparment with a fellow manager and headed into the conference room for a meeting...I don't remember what the meeting was going to be about but I do remember the moment that someone in the office jumped up right before we got to the door of the room and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. He had heard it on his radio and we rushed in the conference room and flipped on the TV. We all thought what a horrible thing to happen. We did not understand just how horrible it was until the events played out and we watched with disbelief and horror as it became obvious that we were not dealing with an accident. I still find it inconceivable that this kind of cruelty and hate can exist in the world and am thankful that I live in a country where neighbors help neighbors and that we hold our freedom close.

BrightenedBoy said...

I was in eighth grade when this happened and can remember being very afraid.

It's incredible how one day changed so much.