Surrounded by heroes

Date Submitted: 09/10/2003
Author Info: Mindy (Jacksonville, IL - USA) 
Occupation: Accounting/Finance
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

Unlike most people, the horrific events of 9/11 did not affect me like them. In fact, I was very distanced from the tragedy. I was traveling on a bus from Berlin, Germany to Nuremburg, Germany when one of the gentlemen on the bus said that a plane had accidently flown into the World Trade Center. Luckily enough, our tour guide’s son was on the bus with us. He happened to be an ex-AP reporter who covered such events as the Berlin Wall coming down. Anyway, I went down to him and told him what the guy had said. He immediately found a BBC radio station that was covering the events and piped it into the buses sound system. For the remainder of the bus trip, we all listened to the events unfold. It so happened that this guy’s girlfriend worked in the Pentagon. Another passenger on our trip had a sister who was flying home from France on that day. When we stopped at a rest stop along the route, he instantly started calling Washington with direct instructions to the person he was talking to “FIND HER!” At last he found out that she was safe and the other passengers sister was stranded on a tarmac in Newfoundland. When we arrived at our hotel in Nuremburg, everyone was very quiet and went directly to their rooms to watch the television. The pictures were horrific.

Ironically, the group we were traveling with were American Ex-POWs from WWII. We had gone to Barth Germany to see where the men were held as prisoners. It was amazing to see the anger in these men’s eyes over what had happened. In fact, several of these 80 year old men were ready to suit back up and go on bombing missions once more for their country.

The remainder of the trip was quite enjoyable actually. The tour kept us very busy, however when there was any down time, we were glued to the televisions watching the events unfold. It was amazing how the people in Germany responded to the events and to us. Everywhere we went, there were flags at half-staff, black drapes over flags on governmental buildings and all the people we encountered were very guick to give us their sympathy and support. We drove by the US Embassy in Munich, Germany. There was an armored tank blocking the entrance and a wall of flowers, cards, etc covering the tank. It was a very beautiful site.

Almost my entire family was with me on the trip, including our 4 year old daughter, brother, mother, aunt, and grandparents. The hardest part of the trip was calling my husband from Germany and telling him that I did not know when we would be coming home. Needless to say, we were all a little scared of flying home. Luckily enough, we had wonderful tour guides who blocked our flights home. We were able to leave virtually on time – only about an hour delay.

Even though I am a very patriotic US citizen, I still feel very distanced from the whole tragedy. I still take every opportunity to watch reports and specials on television in order to get an even better perspective about what happened that awful day. I will always remember 9/11 as a day I was surrounded by heroes listening to new heroes being born out of tragedy.


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