The voicemail that changed my life

Date Submitted: 08/21/2002
Author Info: Ryan (Poplar, WI - USA) 
Occupation: Professional (Medical, legal, etc.)
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

I can remember growing up (and I’m only 22) listening to different people discuss where they were during certain world events. I always listened with interest, but never could I imagine that I would someday be able to contribute to any conversation of that nature, much less a story so horrific that we lived through on September 11, 2001. At the time, I was a 911 dispatcher for my local PD and Sheriff’s Department, and due to my job, I was on call most of the time. September 10, I left my cellphone on overnight, which is something that I very rarely do, but I awoke on the 11th to its’ wonderful sounds awakening me early to a new day. I didn’t recognize the cellphone number, so I didn’t answer it, but waited for the voice message. I had to play it back two or three times to fully grasp its’ meaning…a friend of mine who rarely calls me left me a message (why she called me is beyond me), but groggily, I turned on my radio to NPR (which usually is left on overnight, but for whatever reason I didn’t leave it on) and what I heard startled me even more, right out of bed. I still remember NPR’s haunting theme music intro-ing the live coverage and then Neal Conan describing the incidents of a few minutes earlier. I ran into the living room, turned on the TV and watched horrifically as the scenes that we are all too familiar with kept replaying on different networks…I fell on my floor in disbelief, telling myself that I’d wake up and this horrible movie would be over. That was the only thing I could describe it as…a Godzilla or some other Sci Fi movie gone wrong. The more I watched, the more scared I became for our country, hearing about four planes that had been hijacked in such a short succession of time…the only thoughts that kept running through my head were “who’s next?”. It finally sunk in about four hours later when I was out in public and found myself among other horrified Americans wondering what our next moves should be as both civilians and as a country. Going to bed that night was the hardest thing to do..I didn’t want to be alone yet I was scared to go out in public. I was only imagining what the next day’s headlines were going to bring.


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