I had just started working in a school district on a year-round schedule. Having begun in July, I was on my first break and my friend Shari and I were leaving for Washington DC at about 11 a.m. My neighbor’s son had called her from NY and she called me. “Turn on the TV. They bombed the World Trade Center!” I ran to the room Shari was sleeping in and turned on the TV just in time to see the 2nd plane hit the tower. “We just saw 300 people die!” I said, counting only those on that plane. We sat all day in our robes watching the horror unfold. We had several calls from relatives relieved to find us at home. Ironically, since we were taking a flight with no meal service, I’d packed some cheese and a paring knife. That was just a small beginning of how our world would forever be changed.
We thought at first that we might fly out later in the week. When we knew that couldn’t happen Shari drove back to Seattle and I went to Grass Valley just to get away before going back to work. What I thought might be a respite turned into a night of sleeplessness as I worried that my son and niece might be drafted.
We eventually got to DC in March ’02 and were sitting in Ford’s Theater watching “1776” at the hour the war began. In the play,
a messenger returns from the front to report on the progress of the battle. Finding the hall empty he tells the janitor about how the wives and mothers would search for their loved ones after the fighting had ceased. He sang a gut-wrenching tale of how a dead soldier cried out from the brush for his mama to find him. There were no dry eyes in the house.