The Long Trip Home

Date Submitted: 05/20/2002
Author Info: Kelly (Indianapolis, IN - USA) 
Occupation: Sales/Marketing/Advertising
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

Though I know my story is not special, I feel the need to share it. I am the mother of two and it has taken me this long to cope with this. My heart goes out to all of the families of the lost and all of the people who lived through it.

I must give a little background. In my previous career I had to travel to Boston, MA twice a month to meet with clients. Obviously, the trip started out like any other. On Tuesday, 9/11, I was getting ready at my hotel. I used to stay at the Sheraton Newton. For those of you who are familiar, You know it’s the hotel that stands over the Mass Pike. I usually watch the Today show while I am getting ready in the morning. I had already turned off my TV so that I could leave my room for my first meeting. I received a call on my cell phone. It was a co-worked and very close friend of mine, James. I could hear the shock in his voice as he told me to turn on the TV. As I turned on the TV, James was explaining how a plane had flown into one of the towers of the WTC. James, a native New Yorker, was shaken, but as he was explaining he figured a plane went off course. As he was telling me I saw the second plane hit as I watched TV. James let out a terrible sound, as if his heart was being ripped out. Then, of course, as adults do, some choice 4 letter words were coming out of our mouths. At this point we did not know it was terrorist. I told James I would call him later.

As I was driving I was listening to NPR. As I was listening I heard the news casters talk about the Pentagon. Then the plane in PA. They described how it was sure that these were acts by terrorists. At this point I received calls from two of my clients cancelling our meetings and asking me to try to get home (most of my clients knew that I live in Indiana). As I was driving I become more frightened. All the traffic was heading out of Boston. I was trying to get throught to my family but the cellular traffic was so heavy I could not get an open line. All of my meetings cancelled but one. Not much business was discussed, only the events of the day.

My family was finally able to get through to me. My father in Indiana and my brother in FL. They were so scared. They heard that two of the flights originated in Boston. They did not know if I was on one of them. My fiance, finally able to get through to me, kept telling me to get home. I tried to get a flight and was willing to get on a plane that very day to get home to my family. I was able to book a flight for the next day, but as we all know now, that didn’t happen. They evacuated downtown Boston that night.

I was alone in my room and as I watched the footage over and over, I got down on my knees and prayed to God and cried. I was devastated, I didn’t sleep. I spoke to James, who sounded like a part of him had died. My friend, the native New Yorker, was destroyed. The next morning I drove to Providence to get my flight, of course they cancelled all flights. I stayed at a hotel in Providence because the airlines did not know when the airports would open again. Finally, on Thursday, I decided to make 16 hour drive home. I was luckier than others, since I already had a rental car. The car company had one already reserved for me.

I drove from RI, through CT to New York. I will never forget, I drove across the George Washington Bridge, there was no traffic and on the top level as I looked over, there was no WTC, only smoke. Everyone was going very slowly over the bridge, looking in horror and disbelief. I cried. During the whole drive I listened to NPR. I stayed in a hotel in PA and watched the news. Finally, early Friday afternoon I was home. I cried.

For weeks after I kept the news on. Even after things on TV went back to normal, I wanted the information. I realized that my children’s security in the country has been changed forever. It makes me very angry. Only over the past few months have I been able to sleep through the night.

I guess it is true, whenever there is a life altering event, you will never forget where you were or what you were doing. Again, this is not a special story, I just felt the need to share.


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