Wake Up Call

Date Submitted: 09/26/2008
Author Info: Stacey Jo (Latrobe, PA - USA) 
Occupation: Administrative
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

At the time, I had worked for a medium sized church as a pastoral assistant. I worked in the office alone, as the Pastor was out making home calls. Early in the morning, my mother called me at work. She was an avid watcher of CNN and kept it on in the background constantly. She called and asked if I’d heard about a plane crashing into the first tower. I didn’t have a tv in my office, just a small radio. I hadn’t heard anything and we stayed on the phone talking about how this could happen. CNN still seemed rather confused after the initial hit, with rumors coming in and things they were not able to verify. All of a sudden, my mom gasped loudly and yelled, “oh my GOD another plane hit the other tower!” It was at that moment I got scared. I started to feel a bit panicky, and I kept asking her what was going on. The helpless feeling is something I will never forget. I tuned into a local radio station, and they were already declaring that someone had “attacked” the US. Then the radio announcer was saying that possibly dozens of planes were hijacked and being used to hit targets across the US. Looking back now, I realize they didn’t have much VERIFIED information, but I do remember how terrified it felt to be all alone there. I couldn’t exactly leave with the Pastor missing, and I tried to reach him. Unable to do so, I called my mother back, and she wanted me to come home. My daughter was in Catholic school at the time, so I called them to see what they were doing. They said they were releasing students to go home immediately, and could I please come pick up my daughter (I believe she was 13 at the time…). When I got there, the place was complete confusion. They made me produce ID and said go to the gym and find your daughter. She was there, amongst others who were crying and obviously very scared. I just wanted her WITH me. So I took her back to my office, phoned my mother to tell her we were safe. Ash sat in my office with a headache so bad it made her sick. The feeling of panic and fear was so bad that day. I felt we had not only our security stolen, but our very lives. I wanted to lock my office and the church! But Pastor had the only set of main keys. We heard the door open down the hall, and I swear, I was ready to grab anything as a weapon. It was a neighbor lady that I had seen around, but didn’t know. She had a shell shocked look on her face, and asked me please, to open the church. She wanted to pray. I have NEVER felt so upset and lost in my entire life. I didn’t even get permission. I went the back way through the church and unlocked the main church doors. Slowly, for the next few hours, people filtered into the church. Most, I didn’t know. I remember seeing them going to the front, some kneeling, some sitting, just staring off, or praying. People say the terrorists didn’t win. I don’t agree. They won. They took something very valuable from us. They took our security. They planted fear so deep that we will never trust again. That is where I was that day. And the very next day was even more shocking. I simply got in my car in the morning and drove around. The kids didn’t have school. There were no planes in the skies. And believe me, you don’t MISS something like that until it’s absent. I remember vividly the clouded sky, the bright sun, and the silence. The sheer silence. Let us stand ever vigilant, and never forget that day. Thank you for reading.


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