On September 11, 2001, I was in Konstanz, Germany with my husband Jeff. Jeff was there for business, and I was tagging along. I’d never been to Germany and spent most of the day wandering about Konstanz while Jeff was in meetings.
About 3:45pm, I returned to our hotel and flipped on CNN (the only channel in English) to see the disaster that was unfolding in the United States. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. I shut the television off and went out to a coffee shop where CNN was playing in German. I still saw the footage of the towers burning, but didn’t understand any of it. Obviously, this wasn’t my imagination. Something truly horrible had happenend.
I returned to the room and turned on CNN again, just in time to see the first tower collapse. At some point, what seemed like an eternity later, my husband called from his meeting and I just broke down. Although I’m not sure what I would have done if we’d been at home, I felt helpless being so far away from everything familiar.
Although it was difficult to enjoy the remainder of our trip, Jeff and I were lucky. One of his business colleagues offered her extra room, should we be stranded in Germany. Another offered the laundry room in his apartment building, in case we ran out of clean clothes. Most just offered hugs and emotional support.
The memories of September 11th have become bittersweet for me and Jeff. During the course of dealing with the personal impact of the attacks, we were surrounded by business colleagues who turned into friends.