Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Ago Today

Where were you? What were you doing? You know you'll never forget. Today, seven years ago.

A friend of mine in Orlando, Eva Marie, remembers where she was. In fact, this is the first time she's written about it in all these years. She was in New York City. You can read about it here.

Maybelline was eight, Oatmeal Head seven and Little Guy four. Maybelline had been taking piano lessons in our home for all of three weeks - we had the most wonderful teacher for five and a half years - and the boys were playing down the hall in their room. Edna Mae's Piano for Beginners was getting quite a workout when the phone rang. It was my mother-in-law telling me to turn on the TV. A plane had just flown into one of the twin towers.

I hung up and snuck up on Mr. Cook, an older gentleman who with a colorful past, and told him what had happened. He didn't seem concerned, so I waited until the lesson was over to turn on the television. And watched as the second plane hit the other tower. The rest of the day ... I guess most of you experienced the same thing. The rest of the day I sat in front of my TV and cried. I watched as President Bush was reading to a group of school children, then someone whispered in his ear. I watched the people running. The towers collapsing. And cried and cried.

I didn't know anyone there. Didn't know anyone directly effected by it, in terms of life and death. Didn't have to. It went to the core of every person I knew. Who we are. How we identify ourselves. How we view those around us. Both good and bad.

A year later I watched the anniversary coverage every night for a week. And bawled. And remembered. And prayed. And vowed never to forget. But I have. I've forgotten it. Maybe as a means of self-protection. Remembering hurts. But today I remember. I'll cry. And I'll pray. And I'll read about it all over again. A reminder of our identity as a nation, what was taken from us that day, what we became as a result. What I became as a result.

Initially I became even more entrenched in my political beliefs, my party loyalty. That didn't last very long. Ultimately I became more open-minded and forgiving. Less judgmental. Willing to look at everything on a case-by-case basis. And always aware of Who is in control of my destiny. How little say I have in what happens to me in the end. More and less afraid all at once.

I hope that today you remember, if you can. Please share your story with me? I'd like to hear where you were, what you were doing, what it did to you.

Until I write again ...



Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I was at work in a staff meeting and my cell phone kept ringing. I tried to ignore it but it was John and he kept calling. I answered and he told me about the first tower. I ran back into the meeting and told everyone. My house is the closest to work so we left the meeting immediately and went and watched the news for hours. Never went back to work that day.

It seems like I watched the news for the next 5 days straight. I felt so helpless and thought the least I can do for these poor people and their families is to watch the news coverage and think about each and everyone of them.

I am still haunted by the coverage of all those missing fliers and the have you seen this person fliers that started to show up days after...


Mental P Mama said...

I remember it all.

AutoSysGene said...

I can't believe it's been 7 years. I was sleeping. My mom woke me by calling, her first words to me were "we're under attack." Yes, that is a weird way to wake up.

I sat in front of the tv for the rest of the day...then we went to an adoption meeting and found that we wouldn't be able to adopt.

It was an all around bad day and I'm so glad to be on this side of the 7 years.

dlyn said...

i never turn on my tv in the daytime - a fact my sister is aware of, so she called me to tell me what was going on. I was waiting to drive Lauren up to the college where she had just started because she was supposed to take her driver's test the following week and didn't have her lisence yet. I am not much of a crier, so I sat in disbelief all day, watching events unfold. Lauren was already thinking of joining the Army and honestly think that day decided her for sure. And yes, I often forget too.

Trisha said...

I was at work teaching a bunch of gifted fifth graders in the computer lab. The district tech guy was there and got a phone call. He hung up and told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I didn't believe him. We were talking about it when his phone rang again - the second tower. Then, it rang a third time when the buildings collapsed. I had goose bumps then and have them now just thinking about it.

Of course, I had to keep teaching and during lunch, all of the teachers were glued to the TV in the staff room (only there for this event). We were told not to tell the children but to let their parents tell them.

The next day, I ended up having a discussion about the tragedy because my class wouldn't think of anything else.

Daryl said...

For me (and my sister) it was the converse of what your FLA friend went through. My sister and I were in FL to settle the estate of our late parents. We were due to go to the bank on Sept 11 .. I was waiting for her to get dressed and was watching GMA .. when the plane hit .. I called her to come see... she said call home NOW or you wont get through later .. I did. I spoke to Husband who had no idea what was happening .. he turned on the TV and we listened to one another breathe ... the airports were closed so we had to wait a day or two to drive home... as we got to the top of the NJ Turnpike you could see the tip of Manhattan and the smoke rising from what was the Trade Towers .. that image still haunts me ..

I posted a poem and a photo on my blog ....the poem touches me deeply and I wanted to share it and a photo I took several years before Sept 11 2001 ...


CanadianMama said...

My heart goes out to every American today. I remember watching it with horror as well. I was working as a waitress, we closed the restaurant and watched it on the tv in the bar. So sad, so sad.

Karen said...

Flea- Please forgive me for being lazy. My day is hectic, but I really wanted to respond. I posted about this at

God bless America.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

We all remember exactly where we were on Sept. 11th. For me, it followed the first night my husband and I left our son in the hopsital alone after his surgery -- he was doing SO WELL that we decided to come home together for just one night to see the rest of the kids. I'll never forget the terror of being separated as a family and learning all of this.

I continue to pray today for everyone affected by this event ... worldwide. The whole world really changed that day.

Anonymous said...

I was watching Seasame Street with my almost two year old and 5 months pregnant with the second. Hubby called and said to turn on the news, the second plane hadn't hit the tower yet. I watched in horror thinking I did not want to bring a second child into this world. It was horriffic and still is.

Mom Knows Everything said...

I remember sitting in front of the television for the next few days still not believing what my eyes were seeing.

Ellyn said...

I was in the Air Force then. As soon as the second plane hit, and we knew it wasn't an accident, we started preparing our planes to deploy. They didn't send us for another month but we were ready by the time we went home that night.
As I have read the other accounts of that day I am grateful we have something to do. It was a way to occupy our minds so we didn't sit and watch it unfold.

Thank you so sharing your story. It is important we don't forget.

Anonymous said...

I was returning from taking my middle to drill team practice at 6 in the morning. I heard it on the radio. I got home and woke my oldest daughter and said "Happy birthday honey. You have to wake up... they're crashing planes into buildings."

Karen Deborah said...

I did a post today about this.
I appeciate what you said.

Kidzmama said...

I was home with our two first kiddos. They were three years old and sixteen months old. We were all upstairs in our home. I was changing the laundry in the machine and they were in mine and my hubby's room watching tv. They started yelling because their show was interrupted.

I just stood there. Clever asked what was happening but I couldn't answer. Then the phone rang and it was my mom. At the time they lived in NJ, over fifteen hours away from us.

Never forget.

Wineplz said...

You saw my post. Thanks for stopping by today.

I was getting ready for work when the first tower was hit--I was putting on my eyeshadow.
We left work early and the whole 20 mile trip back (including I-66) we saw only a handful of cars and kept cowering every time we heard/saw the fighter jets zoom overhead. The silence outside after all the noise and confusion of what we were seeing on TV was so eerie.

Tanya Brown said...

How did I miss this post yesterday? It's good to read these stories of how individuals' lives were touched.

I was at work, one of those Silicon Valley startups/sweatshops, the kind of place where supper is catered because it's expected that you'll be working far into the night. (As well as on weekends.) The CEO, a talented and driven fellow, was fond of yelling "It's your stock price, people!" and doing a "butts in seats" check on Saturdays. I didn't know exactly what had happened or the scale of it, but I knew it had to be very, very bad when the CEO told everyone they could go home.

That was the day the name "bin Laden" became as familiar to people as the words "Tide" or "Palmolive".

Chelf said...

DH and I were in a rental car, and pulling into work. We both worked at the same place back then. The radio station had broken in with the news. The more serious of the morning team read the AP report over the air... and we (all of the city, I am sure) just laughed, like his partner did. "He can't be serious." We went inside, and everyone else already there was in a daze. It was serious.

One of the women went home and got her little 13" TV, and they set it up in the conference room. We got it hooked up just in time to see the second plane hit. I just started praying. The rest of the day is a blur, and the rest of the week was too quiet.

We were in a rental car, because DH had been hit by a lady in our apartment complex that didn't look before she backed. We had gotten a Sandrift (Gold) Chevy Malibu (mid-sized 4 door) instead of the Chevy Cavalier (compact 2 door) the insurance was going to pay for, because of a fluke. When we called to exchange for something smaller, the rental place said that because of the attack grounding planes, there were absolutely no cars available.

This is really important to me. I felt as if the world was more dangerous in a nanosecond. Were we always this vulnerable? Who would think of such a catastrophe?

Living in Oklahoma City, I feel this same remembrance, the same sense of awe, panic, comfort and craziness all at once, on April 19. It is so very important to ponder these events every year, much like we celebrate our birthdays and anniversaries. For the sake of the story, we have to keep telling it.

Snooty Primadona said...

Very well said... written. I still can't watch anything about 9/11 because I just weep and weep. It did change us all though. Forever.

Karate Mom said...

Reilly was just over a year old and I was sitting on the livingroom floor, putting on my shoes to get ready to take her on a walk. It was right after the first plane had hit and I had I happened to turn on the Today show, so I called Troy and said, "You'll never believe what happened." I continued to watch, and call him with updates, which happened to put me on the phone with him both when the second plane hit and when the first tower collapsed.
Oh, what a day. I put a tape in the VCR and recorded six straight hours of news coverage on NBC, but I've never gone back and watched it. Someday I will.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Fantastic post Flea. I did like you, and watched everything I could, crying through it all. I posted what I was doing, but only after it sat in my drafts folder for a few days first.