I woke up the morning of September 11, 2001 in Belleville, IL. I was visiting my family for a few days and had a flight out of St. Louis at 10:30 a.m. central standard time. I woke up late and my mother was rushing to get to work on time. She was dropping me off at my grandparent’s house until I could hop the Metrolink to the airport.
After she dropped me off at my grandparent’s house, I went in and started coversing with my Grandma. We were talking about the jelly she used to make when I was younger and telling me she sure wishes she could still find those dewberries somewhere…when the phone rang. It was my mom. She just got to work and told us to turn on the television—that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. In my mind it was a small plane and I thought either the pilot was drunk or had some kind of navigational problems. In other words, I thought it was an accident.
My Grandma and I sat there watching ABC, kind of talking about the crash, wondering what had happened. As we speculated, the second plane crashed into the other tower. I was completely beside myself! First I thought maybe they were replaying the first crash and that I had missed something…but learned from the announcer that another plane had crashed! Even then in my mind I didn’t think of terrorism. I thought of the smoke blinding the other pilot, causing him to crash, too!
My mother called me again and told me DO NOT GET ON THAT FLIGHT TODAY!!! I stubbornly said to her “what are the chances of this happening to me?” I had to get home and I was going to go! I had no idea what really was going on until the Pentagon was hit. Then I knew I would not be getting on a plane that day!
All flights were cancelled, so we sat in front of the tv watching the crash in PA and listening to reporters retelling the story over and over again. I remember being completely numbed by the whole thing that day, and it didn’t sink in until the next day. I woke up ready to hop the flight I missed on 9/11 because I HAD to get home! I was missing work and was afraid of getting fired. I left on the train and arrived only to find my flight (and all flights) were cancelled. This went on for another two days and I was finally able to leave on Friday after bartering with the airline. I was scared to death to fly but had no other way of getting home! The flight home was completely SILENT. Not one person spoke. The airline offered free alcohol to those who wanted it and we all took it.
My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones that day, those who experience the event first-hand, as well as on the tv set and those who are losing loved ones to this day over in the middle east because of it.
We are all losing. All of us…our parents, friends, our spouses, our sons & daughters, sisters & brothers, cousins, the citizens of this country…and of the world.
May we all find some peace somehow.