I had just started teaching second grade. I was in the shower when my husband came in – “You are not going to believe what just happened!” He said that a plane had just hit the towers. Three hours behind New York, it was around 6 am? I turned on the TV. Shock. Accident? Maybe? Second plane hits right before my eyes….oh my GOD! Then I keep an eye on the TV while I dress….crashing and the towers collapse. I felt my heart sink into my stomach. At that time we were thinking possibly 50,000 people! Then the rumors started…other planes, Pentagon, State Dept and no one knew. I went to school that day and taught my classroom full of innocent stares and questions. I cried all day long. I snuck peeks at the TV in our classroom, because I was scared about the unknown, the possibility of more attacks…who knew!?! AND, I will never EVER forget walking across the playground on that beautiful day and looking up in the sky….hearing…. silence. Complete silence. Knowing that history had been made in many ways. No airplanes buzzing overhead. It was eerie. At 31 I had never experienced anything of this magnitude. And I thought of my grandpa, who fought in WWII and my daddy who was in Vietnam…and the old war stories, the “old glory” pride and how I used to giggle at their seriousness. NOW I understand. Veterans Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day are sacred to me now. And I raised the American Flag that week…and I WILL NEVER EVER TAKE IT DOWN until the day I die.
And OH GOD,…Lord,…the sleepless nights, insomnia and nightmares. How many of you out there had dreams about airplanes and tall buildings? I had so many dreams and wake up in sweat because of 9-11. And the agony for the jumpers, the children, the last phone calls and the images, and the blank stares of the medical personnel when no victims were brought to them…because no one survived.
The dog who was left in his kennel, in the basement…because his partner, a WTC security officer went upstairs to help….was buried below the rubble. I just sobbed for that poor dog, his owner. The poor wives, husbands and families…I ached and ached for their losses. I was so angry I wanted to hurt anyone that looked suspicious. I went into a depression for a while…couldn’t watch planes overhead without wondering…. wouldn’t fly home to Atlanta for a year.. to see my parents. Cannot count the ways this has changed me.
I thought about God, my life, my parents, and our time here on earth. I wanted to buy a gun and still do. I was friendlier to most people and had a new hatred for others. (I’ve worked through that), but I wanted to round everyone up that looked suspicious and put them on a boat! I wanted to do many things that I’m not proud of but I love my country and I began to understand my daddy when he said…”Sweetie, Freedom ain’t Free” and for those who don’t love this country…get the f out.
And although 2,000 miles away from NYC, I took this cowardly act of terrorism very personally. God Bless America.