The Worst Shock of my Life

Date Submitted: 09/06/2002
Author Info: Kim (Winnipeg, MB - USA) 
Occupation: Sales/Marketing/Advertising
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

I remember very clearly the events of that horrible day…hard to believe almost one year has past. The pictures are still so fresh in my mind.

The morning started just like any other morning, probably like everyone else’s in the world. I took my son to the bus stop and the bus was late, again, so I missed the 8:30 news. I had errands to run and popped into the store, so I missed the 9:00 news. While driving into work at 9:45, I heard a snippet of…”reports that another plane may have crashed, we will update you as soon as possible and recap the morning events at the top of the hour.” I could not stay in the car that long.

I went to my desk at a very busy call centre and noticed something very strange…there were no calls waiting on any line. You see, up to this point every queue (department) has had at least 50-100 people waiting at all times, it was a very busy season. As I logged on to my computer a strange message came on…they may be closing the Toronto office for security reasons. I wondered why, what happened in Toronto this time. Did I mention that I work for one of the biggest banks in Canada? I noticed an eerie silence in a normally bustling building with about 850 employees in on a Tuesday but though nothing of it. I did not have internet at work so I could not even pass the time by surfing the net so I went to grap a coffee and headed outside for a smoke. That was the moment I got the news.

One of my colleagues asked me very quickly “Have you heard? Of course you have, everyone has.” When I replied with “heard what” I was greeted with the strangest look, like I was from Mars or something. “The 2 planes hitting the World Trade Centre Towers and another hitting the Pentagon?” Could he be serious? Could this really be happening? Who could do such a horrible thing? What about all those people? What about our offices at 1 Liberty Place, were they ok? I listened to everyone go into great detail describing what had happened…I though I was going to be sick. About that time, we noticed that there was a lot of air traffic directly over our building, we are in the direct flight path from Minneapolis to Winnipeg. As we were contemplating the signifigance of this, we got our answer. Another colleague came bursting out of the door and told us “They have grounded all air traffic immediately! There is speculation that there are still terrorists ready to strike!” All I could think is ‘what is this world coming to?’ Suddently, it hit me…my son’s school is very close to our airport, and my husband works at the end of one of the runways…are they going to be all right?

When I got back to my desk, we recieved word that yes the Toronto office was closing and that our staff in New York had were relocated as well. Throughout the day, everyone was going back and forth to the staff lounge to get updates and filter the information to those of us who could not or would not go and look for ourselves. We also recieved inter office e-mail from departments with internet access, full of up to date information and pictures of the Twin Towers, which was my first glance of the horrific details unfolding. When I saw the graphic for the first time, I was sick to my stomach, again wondering ‘how can this be happening, it must be a dream…actually a nightmare.’

When I called home and finally reached my husband, the first thing I said was “Don’t let Bren watch any TV, I will talk to him when I get home and explain what happened then.” My husband told me that our airport looked like a parking lot and it was estimated that there were about 60 planes parked on the tarmac. Right after our conversation, I stepped back outside and received more updates…the first tower had collapsed! At that same time, we noticed a large number of military flights overhead, intesifying the worry even more…was something happening here?

When I arrived finally arrived home, much to my dismay, there was my 7 year old, parked infront of CNN. I could not believe my eyes! Evidently, the class had found out what happened at lunch when one of the girls went home, only to find out that her parents were missing, they were in New York on business. As I sunk into a chair, taking in the video scenes for the first time, I tried to hold my composure infront of my son. He suddenly asked me “Why do they keep flying into buildings? Why do they want everyone to die?” Great, the joy of instant replay. I sat down with Bren and explained the concept of replays, comparing them to the ‘rewind’ button on the VCR, he then understood.

While trying to sleep that night, I noticed for the first time that evening, there were no planes flying overhead, very strange for our neighbourhood. I laid in bed wondering, hoping and praying. Wondering why did this happen? Wondering who could have done such a horrible thing. Wondering if there were any survivors. Wondering about the children left behind. Wondering what would happen next. Wondering if there was more to come. Praying for the families of all the victims and missing persons. Praying for all the rescue workers, so God could give them the strength and courage to do their jobs. Praying for everyone in the world, that we would be safe. Praying for answers for everyone touched by this act of terrorism. Hoping that the worst was over but mostly hoping that this would never happen again!

I plan on spending the morning of September 11 at a memorial service with my son, taking place at the exact time the first plan hit, praying for all the innocent lives lost and for their families. I will never forget the death and destruction that happened that day, it has been etched in my memory…forever.


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