Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Day I Can't Forget: 9/11/2001


 
The moment I heard, I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, where I was going; it's one of the rare times a memory can still reduce me to tears.   It was the day the date “9/11” became more than just a day, it became a reference point, a word synonymous with the loss of an America that once was, the end of the innocence in believing that it couldn’t happen here, on our own soil.   

I was a few blocks from work, stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of Wilson Dam Road and Avalon Avenue, listening to the radio when they broke the news that a plane had flown in to the North Twin Tower of the World Trade Center.    In my mind, a small four-seater had somehow managed to hit the building, and that the folks on the small plane surely didn’t survive.

Shortly after I arrived at my desk, my husband called and said two planes had flown into the Twin Towers.   I argued a little with him, refusing to believe, but fearful that it was true, that there were two jets instead of one small plane.   By then, co-workers were gathering into the conference room, glued to the TV; I joined them.   I remember a feeling of sheer helplessness and terror as I learned that yet another plane had flown into the Pentagon.  I went back to my office, shut the door, and tried to pray.   I remember being just frantic enough to only be able to pace back and forth saying, “Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus…”  Going back to the conference room, I watched in horror with my co-workers as the South Tower collapsed.   I asked the others in the room if the people in the tower would have had time to get out.   They sadly told me what I didn't want to hear…they wouldn’t have had time.  I learned later that yet another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania, not yet knowing of the heroic efforts of the passengers on board that flight.

When the mission was completed, the pusillanimous deeds that day caused a total of 2,996 deaths, including the 19 hijackers and 2,977 victims:  246 on the four planes, 2,606 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon.  A total of 411 emergency workers who responded to the scene died as they tried to rescue people and fight fires. The New York City Fire Department lost 341 firefighters and 2 paramedics.  The New York City Police Department lost 23 officers.  The Port Authority Police Department lost 37 officers.  Eight emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics from private emergency medical services units were also killed. (figures from Wikipedia)

Ground Zero, New York City, N.Y. (Sept. 17, 2001) -- An aerial view shows only a small portion of the crime scene where the World Trade Center collapsed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Surrounding buildings were heavily damaged by the debris and massive force of the falling twin towers. Clean-up efforts are expected to continue for months. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Eric J. Tilford.   As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain. (Wikipedia)

Sept 11, 2001, was the first day I remember ever hearing the name, “Osama Bin Laden.”   Even now, ten years later, the term “9/11” conjures up the same event for most everyone, though varying emotions are attached to the memories what transpired that day.  But for a brief period of time, America showed solidarity.   Party lines were crossed, reporters openly wept, God was in our lives, the Bible had a place in our conversation, Old Glory was proudly flown.   For a fleeting moment, we came together, stopped criticizing those who believed differently; we shared tender moments with complete strangers; having no words, yet understanding the silence of what we each couldn’t say. 

2 Chronicles 7
New King James Version (NKJV)
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

6 comments:

  1. I pray that scripture at times, My people, God is calling us who believe in him to pray for our country and leaders (which I'm terrible about doing) but he will keep his promise to heal our land if we do our part.

    You are so right, Meg, we did come together for that time as a country. It is sad we let it slip away as wel got back to "routine" (which will never be routine for those whose lives changed that day with loved ones killed) and our routine isn't the same either with ways we travel, security, etc. We need to find that unity without a tragedy like this. And I think that is only going to come through prayer and Jesus.

    betty

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  2. Great blog today. This was truly on of those times that you remember where you were and what you were doing when it happened.

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  3. i have thought so often how God was welcome in our country during that time...didn't matter who you were, it was alright to talk about God everywhere...and how soon we've forgotten. if God's people don't humble ourselves and really pray for our country....oh how we need God in america again!!!!!

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  4. I had never seen that picture. Looking at it makes the reality of it set in but then I get to thinking... Did that really happen on American soil and how dare they?

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  5. As do most, I remember where I was that day, too.

    I worked at a hospital and across the hall from where I sat was a TV room.

    Just before 9AM, I heard someone scream from the room. We all ran (thinking someone had fallen)and saw the live footage of the burning tower.

    We stood there, thinking it was a terrible accident--and as we stood, praing and fearing for the people in the building--we saw the second plaine hit in real time.

    There was a kind of loud, collective "OH!", then silence as we looked at each other, first bewildered, then quickly the realization dawned on all of us that this was no accident.

    Then the Pentagon was hit. And fear began to rise as it became apparent that this was also not confined to New York.

    And...then...the news came that the plane crashed in Shanksville, PA. That's a little over an hour from where I was working. It probably flew over us to get there.

    We, of course, didn't know why Shanksville would be a target. The Pentagon and NYC--but Shanksville? And so near us. But further away from us than Pittsburgh... Where all city's being hit? Had they overshot PGH?

    The tension and anxiety was palpable as we wondered what would happen next.

    And, of course, the patients all had TVs on in their rooms...and family came running in, too.

    But, then, the real nightmare realization of what had happened settled in--we were safe, but our country was not. And so much tragedy...

    I think this has been a tough weekend for many of us. I can still see so much of the TV coverage in my mind.

    Hugs, Margaret.

    Deb

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