It started out a beautiful day. My kids went to school as usual, my husband and I to work. I work in a dental office as a hygienist. I saw my first patients at 8:00 and 9:00 central time.
At about 9:55 I was waiting for my 10:00 patient to show. The receptionist answered the phone. It was another employee, saying to turn on the T.V. – that a plane had hit the WTC. She told us about it as she went to the doctor’s office to turn on his T.V. We all gathered in this tiny room, watching this tiny T.V. Then we saw the 2nd plane hit.
The receptionist and I couldn’t drag ourselves away from it. It was too much to believe. When the Pentagon was hit, I felt like a stone had settled in my stomach. I always thought of that as completely untouchable. I just wanted to go pick my kids up from school and go home. I couldn’t do that, but I really felt that I needed to. Who knew what would come next. I live in a small town in Illinois, but I did not feel removed from the situation at all.
When the plane crashed in PA, I called my husband. He had no idea what was going on. I asked him if his brother had made it home, if he had talked to him. He had been out east on business, and had flown back the night before. I wondered if he had made his flight. My husband called him, and let me know that he was okay.
Very few patients showed up that day, so I spent most of the day glued to the little T.V. When I left at 5:00, I looked up at the sky, expecting to see a clear blue sky, no sign of planes having flown over. Instead I saw the trails of about 5 planes, all grouped together. It made me very nervous. I found out later that the President had flown over a little before that. That must have been what I had seen.
As I pulled in my driveway, I just sat in the car, listening to the news on the radio – afraid to stop listening long enough to go inside and turn on the T.V. I looked up, and saw another plane, so high that if it weren’t for the sun glinting off of it, I would have missed it.
I spent the night watching the news, as I spent many nights after. I fretted about sending my kids to school the next day, and about going to work myself. I slept very little.
I have since become a news junkie. Before September 11, I rarely watched the news. Now I can’t get enough of it.
I saved newspapers, for myself as much as for my children. I just keep feeling like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The patriotism following the attacks was wonderful. I wish it wouldn’t have faded. I still see cars with flags perched on top, and it makes me proud. I don’t think I will ever look at a flag or hear “God Bless The USA” without thinking of September 11.