Nine years ago this morning, I woke up after a late night. Tom had had an asthma attack and I took him to the hospital where they admitted him. I tumbled into bed about 4:00 in the morning after calling work and telling them I’d be a little late.
I rolled out of bed some time after 8:30 with only one thing on my mind: I wanted to know if the Indians had won the night before. I turned on the clock radio to 1100 WTAM and heard the CBS national people sounding very solemn. Apparently a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. Right then, I don’t think anyone knew if it was an accident or terrorism or what. I kind of envisioned a Cessna hitting the building, but it didn’t sound really serious — not right then.
After a shower, I went downstairs and turned on the TV. By then, the second plane had struck and there was no question that this was no accident, that we were under attack. There were more planes, apparently. One had struck the Pentagon and the other was somewhere over the Midwest.
The first thing I really saw was so incredible I thought my eyes had tricked me. As Peter Jennings was interviewing some expert in a voiceover, one of the towers disintegrated. I just couldn’t believe it. My first thought was of how many people were still in there, could still be in there and had almost certainly died and I wept. Shortly after that, the second tower fell and like most of you, like most of the world, I was just in shock.
I went to work, but no one was working. We sat around and stared up at the empty sky, denuded of flying craft, and mostly just spoke variations on “I can’t believe this” and “Did you hear … ?”. By noon, we were told to go home.
After all this time, I still can’t believe it. Whether the truthers are right and it was a false flag op, or if it really was the Al Qaeda plot that we’ve been told, the bottom line is that more than 3000 people died, including men and women whose only involvement was that they showed up to help and save lives.
This was the turning point, the defining moment for an entire generation, not only for America, but for the world. The rubble has been cleared, and individual faces may fade in time, but we will never forget.