I was a senior in college at the University of Central Florida. I lived in my sorority house and I was sleeping in that morning because I had been at work late the night before. My “little sister” called me freaking out about her dad being in Washington DC and a plane went into the Pentagon. I thought I was dreaming. I turned on the TV and saw the second tower fall.
I couldn’t believe it.
I immediately thought of my sister who lived in NYC. I had no idea where she lived in relation to the Twin Towers. I tried calling for the longest time but all circuits were busy. I was beyond frustrated. As I listened to the news I heard them say one of the planes was a United Airlines plane that was bound for the west coast.
My heart sank.
My dad flies for United and frequently made the trip from east to west. In those few minutes I was so scared that I could have possibly lost my dad and my sister. I tried to reach both of them for hours but couldn’t. I tried calling my mom but couldn’t reach her. She was on the golf course and had NO clue what was going on.
Finally my phone rang but the caller ID didn’t show a number. I thought it was a telemarketer and was so annoyed that they were calling at a time like this. I answered and on the other line was my dad. He was safe. I cried and cried. He had been diverted and was in Virginia (I think) and he had spoken with my sister. She was safe – he actually woke her up with his phone call to check on her. I was relieved beyond belief but my heart ached for those families that did lose their loved ones.
My mom got home from golf around noon and came home to 5 or so neighbors standing in the driveway just waiting for her. She was freaked out. They were there waiting to tell her what had happened and be with her to find out if my dad and sister were ok. She had 20+ messages on the answering machine and was relieved to hear my dads voice on one of the messages. I was the only person she could get a hold of and we cried on the phone together. Tears of joy for the safety of our family, tears of pain for those that lost family members and tears of fear for not knowing what was about to happen.
That was a day I’ll never forget…