Nine years ago, on September 11, 2001, I was living in St Louis, MO, pregnant with my daughter (who is now 8), and in my second graduate school. The pregnancy was a good one, as I recall. Alexa was a very gentle and quiet baby. She liked to sleep, and slept a lot I did. I remember being in bed, with the sun streaming in the bedroom window.
The silence was shattered with the ringing of the phone. See, I got a phone call every day from my husband, who was at work. He always called to check on me to see how I was doing, and that day was no different, until I picked up the phone and heard something different, something troubling, in his voice.
He told me to turn on the TV, quickly, because he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, and that things were going to get really bad, really quick. My instinct was to turn over and go back to sleep, because frankly, he may have been exaggerating…but when I heard the urgency in his voice, I fumbled for the remote and turned on the television. He stayed on the phone with me.
I watched in horror and shock, wondering if the images on the screen betrayed my eyes. I wasn’t sure if I was still sleep and dreaming, or if I was watching a movie. Husband was all in my ear, saying over and over, “this is bad, this is really bad.”
I had a sick, nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach, kinda like the one I’m feeling now. What I saw in real time was what would be played over and over on television for days, weeks, months afterwards. Lower Manhattan, Washington, DC, Shanksville, PA. And I thought of three things:
1. My sister lives in NYC. Where is she, and is she okay?
2. I feel like an idiot for bringing another child into this sick and twisted world. What are they inheriting from my parents, grandparents, me and my generation?
3. How will Americans handle this in the ensuing days, months and years? This is the most important question of them all.
Because I was to learn, that my sister was in fact okay. She had a dentist’s appointment scheduled in Manhattan that day, but she decided not to go.. Thank God.
And I not only had Alexa, and Geneva, but I went on to have another child, my son, Donovan. All of whom I love very much and know that they will the ones who help us see our way through this mess.
Nine years later, we as Americans are still grappling with Question #3. Two wars later, unanswered questions still remain. Losses have mounted, and anger has intensified. Some of us still don’t understand why 9/11 happened. I met people who survived the attack on the World Trade Center, and people who were in the vicinity and walked all the way home to the outer boroughs of NYC.
I moved to NYC years later, and had a chance to visit the WTC site, look at the pictures of those who lost that day. At the time, I was living in the Bronx, but later that year, I moved to New Jersey. Everyday, I took the PATH train into lower Manhattan, walked past the site every single day to the subway, felt the pain and suffering and confusion and profound sense of loss. Took a toll on me in a way that I can’t even describe.
It has to be that way for those who survived the attack on their workplace that morning….the feeling of panic, confusion, anger, finality had to wash over them like the waves of the ocean…
Everything in and about America changed at 8:46 a.m., September 11, 2001. I remember, and I’ll never forget, as long as I live. Never.
Please take a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives, for those who survived, and for those families who lost loved ones.
- 9/11: A ‘National Day Of Service And Remembrance’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- 9/11 remembrance: Set your alarms and steel your resolve (michellemalkin.com)
- Obama calls for day of service on 9/11 anniversary (huffingtonpost.com)