As a resident of Seattle, at 8:30am Eastern time, 5:30am Pacific time, my alarm rang. I hit the snooze. Eight minutes later my alarm rang again. This time I turned on the television to watch The Today Show. I had to be up early that morning. It was going to be a tough day. I was taking my father to the hospital that day for radical cancer surgery. He was to have his nose and a portion of his cheek removed to stop the growth of skin cancer. Then there was a breaking story. A plane had just hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York. It was a terrible “accident”. Video was just coming in. I was fixated to the television.
I sat on the corner of my bed and watched as Katie Couric described the scene. I couldn’t believe what I just saw. A plane just hit the other tower. I told my boyfriend to come look. Neither of us had any thought that this was a terrorist attack. We began light conversation of how tragic this all was. Katie Couric then reported that a helicopter had crashed at the Pentagon. I ran to look at the television. Something was wrong. There was too much smoke for it to be a helicopter. I was trying to get ready to leave and watch the television at the same time. I had to get going to pick up my Dad. I listened to the television and then the radio in my car. It was a terrorist attack. I got to my father’s house and ran through the door. He was watching, too. And then I saw it. The south tower collapsed. My heart just sank.
We had to get going to the hospital. We sat and waited to get Dad checked in. I was beginning to feel torn. I was worried about my Dad and the people in the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon. I can only catch little bits of information at this point. Dad’s checked in. I sit with him as we wait for the doctor to come in. I haven’t been able to get any information or see the news for at least 45 minutes. I can’t let my Dad think I am not giving him my full attention. I am really having a hard time. I am concerned for my Dad. He may die. I am concerned for the souls so far away. My Dad goes in to surgery. I tried to catch the news. The news was sketchy and didn’t say a whole lot.
I did discover that the north tower had collapsed. I heard a number that deaths could reach 5 figures. My heart was in my shoes. Then I would think of my Dad. How was the surgery going? A plane, not a helicopter had hit the Pentagon. And another plane had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Apparently, another hijacked plane that had missed it’s intended target. A couple hours later, the doctor came out. The surgery went well. I was relieved. My Dad was going to be OK. But so many other Dads that day were not. I cried that night on the way home from the hospital. I pulled off the road. I felt guilty. I think that is why now I try to see every image I can. I need to see what others saw that day. Today my Dad is doing well. I see him most every day. I still feel guilty. Others don’t see their Dad every day. Or Uncle, Brother, Son. And then you have the Mothers, Grandmothers, Daughters, Sisters, and Aunts. My heart goes out to all who lost someone that day. I was/am lucky. I will never forget that.