Nine years and counting

Monday, September 11, 2001

My day began as most did back then. Awakened by the soft cries from the baby monitor, I dragged myself out of bed and made my way upstairs to tend to my baby girl, just over a month old. With a full tummy and a clean diaper, she fell asleep in my arms and I enjoyed the few precious moments of quiet before my four year old boy came bounding down the stairs.

My husband was enroute to the airport. He had reservations for a flight to California. A flight that would not take off that morning.

By 7:00 a.m. CST, my son had eaten his breakfast and was watching Franklin the Turtle on Nick Jr.

A few minutes before 8:00 AM, the phone rang. I correctly assumed that it was my husband calling to check in.

“Good morning,” I said.

“Are you watching TV?”

“Cameron’s watching Nick Jr. Franklin’s on and…”

“Turn on the news.”

“What’s going on?”

“Turn on the news!”

“Okay, but…”

I watched in stunned silence as smoke poured out of the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Moments later, still on the phone with my husband, my mind tried to compute what my eyes were seeing on the television screen.

I thought to myself, “Are they showing a re-run from a different angle? No, that’s not the case because the building beside it is already burning.”

What I and millions of others were witnessing live on television was United Airlines Flight #175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

“What does this mean? What does this mean?!?

“It means we’ve been attacked. It means we’re going to war.”

  • 8:46 a.m. EST American Airlines Flight #11 strikes the North Tower of the World Trade Center
  • 9:03 a.m. EST United Airlines Flight #175 strikes the South Tower of the World Trade Center
  • 9:37 a.m. EST American Airlines Flight #77 strikes the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
  • 10:03 a.m. EST United Airlines Flight #93 crashes in a field near Shanksville, PA.

Nine years later, I wonder if so many who stood in unison and promised, “We will never forget” choose to forget 364 days of the year. (And yes, I include myself in this group.) The recent news about building a mosque in the shadow of where the twin towers stood has been the source of much impassioned debate. It has brought back many painful memories of that fateful day. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Because it was, and still is painful. Amid all the calls for tolerance and understanding these days, one fact remains for me:

The world where I tucked my children into their beds the night of September 10, 2001 ceased to exist on the following morning.

And while I will be tolerant of others who do not share my beliefs, I will NEVER be tolerant of those who set out to destroy that world. My kids will never live in that world that existed before 9/11, and I’m angry about it still. Forgive? I’ll be honest, I’m still working on that one. Forget? Not very likely.

Where were you the day the world changed forever?

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23 Responses to “Nine years and counting”

  1. Joanna September 10, 2010 at 6:58 am #

    The attacks happened late at night Australian time so I was already asleep. I stumbled out of bed early the next morning because I had an 8am school band rehearsal to go to. I was stopped in the hallway by my mother who was saying something about new york and planes and towers. I thought she was telling me about some nightmare she had just awoken from so I switched on the television only to discover it was for real. Needless to say, no one really concentrated in class that day.

  2. Michael September 10, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    I was in English class in college. The dean of students ran in and asked everyone to go the the fishpond (meeting area at school) to see the televisions they had wheeled in.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..Broken Toys =-.

  3. Glynn September 10, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    I had just arrived at my office and had turned on the computer when I saw the news report flash. I flipped on the small TV I had, and did exactly what your husband did and said exactly the same thing, twice.

    I will never forget those scenes, including watching the second plane crash into the tower as I’m watching the coverage of the first.
    .-= Glynn´s last blog ..Marilynne Robinsons Gilead =-.

  4. *~Michelle~* September 10, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Powerful thoughts…….

    I had just dropped off my youngest son at preschool and was heading toward the gym when the initial reports were on the radio.

    The TVs were on when I walked into the gym and I stood there in disbelief. I felt my knees go weak and ran back to my car. I called my husband and then headed to the preschool and the elementary school to bring them home.

    In total agreement with this:

    “And while I will be tolerant of others who do not share my beliefs, I will NEVER be tolerant of those who set out to destroy that world.”
    .-= *~Michelle~*´s last blog ..RAOK =-.

  5. Robin Arnold September 10, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    I was at work in the church office. A church member came in to tell us and be sure the pastors knew. With 5 military bases in San Antonio the reaction was nearly immediate. I got one of the custodians to bring a TV from one of the classrooms so we could stay updated. I did my duties first, but kept sneaking peeks at my coworker, both of us itching to break the cell phone rule and check on our kids. Mine was working on the campus of the National Institutes for Health, hers, at the CIA. Our fears escalated upon news of the Pentagon impact. Neither of us were able to connect by phone for most of the day. My daughter managed to get word through by mid afternoon but DC was on lockdown and phonelines were crazy busy. My coworker got word from her kids about the same time. In fact there was no cell service for a good portion of the day. We promised to not worry and prayed together. We opened the chapel for prayer and had many people stop in from off the street as well as the congregation. It was rather extraordinary. I have mixed feelings but the strongest one is like yours, the world and life as we knew it before Sept 11 is gone.
    .-= Robin Arnold´s last blog ..Book study- Radical by David Platt =-.

  6. bman September 10, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    I was in a US Government class, of all places.

    I’m right there with you in the forgetting often category. But, I’m also on the side of the tolerance category when it comes to the mosque and stuff. The people that flew planes into our building and declared war on evil America are crazy people. In the same way that we distance ourselves from all of the serial killers and cults and Pat Robertsons of the world when they do horrendous things in the name of God (or Jesus), that’s what those people are/were to Islam.
    .-= bman´s last blog ..Full Circle =-.

    • katdish September 10, 2010 at 10:45 am #

      I still don’t think it’s right to build a mosque there. I never will. Why can’t those in charge of the project be tolerant and understanding of the suffering of the families? I’m not saying they’re responsible for what happened, I’m just asking they extend the same understanding and compassion they’re asking everyone else to have. It’s not just a mosque, it’s a multi-million dollar Islamic center. And when they were fundraising, they touted the fact that it was “in the shadows of the twin towers”. Intentional or not, they used the tradegy to raise money for their project. I tend to think it was very intentional.

      • A Simple Country Girl September 10, 2010 at 10:52 am #

        Yes Kathy, you put to words what I have been trying to do these past few weeks…tolerance and understanding (and grace) for those still suffering.
        .-= A Simple Country Girl´s last blog ..Rides =-.

      • bman September 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

        Agree to disagree. I can live with that.
        .-= bman´s last blog ..Full Circle =-.

  7. A Simple Country Girl September 10, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    My husband had just gotten home from the night shift at the pulp mill and said to turn on the news. He was muttering and mumbling about a plane and a tower. I thought he was talking about the little local air strip on down the highway. I turned the TV on and dropped to my knees. Then I threw-up.

    I had to take the dog to town for some surgery. I sat in the vet office and bawled. I couldn’t understand how people could be smiling and carrying on like normal. I then went to the pharmacy and the tears wouldn’t stop there either. When someone asked, I just whispered that I have an uncle in NYC. I have a friend with family who works in the towers…and that same friend’s husband works for the gov (and I couldn’t remember if he worked in the Pentagon).

    That night when my husband left for work, I sat on the couch and bawled while I watched the TV.

    We didn’t know the Lord back then, but I prayed and I prayed. I suffer from agoraphobia so this sent me into a hole for a couple of years. And with each anniversary, I just wanna stay home.

    Oh my word, I went on and on. We need to sometimes.

    My friend’s sister survived because she was sent out for coffee that morning. She walked with the throngs of people out of the city. And my uncle? He is estranged from the family, but I found out he was fine. He could see it from his apartment though.

    .-= A Simple Country Girl´s last blog ..Rides =-.

  8. jasonS September 10, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Great post. When I read the title and clicked on the link, I wasn’t expecting this topic, but then that picture jarred me once again (Amazing how it can do that even 9 years later).

    Thanks Kat.
    .-= jasonS´s last blog ..Light Friday Hit List- 9-10-10 =-.

  9. Jeanne Damoff September 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Thank you for this. I appreciate you.
    .-= Jeanne Damoff´s last blog ..Glimpses of His ways =-.

  10. SarahBee September 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    I was waiting in the Army office in the Phoenix Federal building to take my Defense Language Aptitude test. There were TV monitors on in the room as the other recruits were waiting for assignments, appointments, and physicals before shipping out. A few said it was probably propaganda to get us to sign long contracts because we’d be more fired up to serve our country. As the day wore on, it became clear – this was real. We were in the last Federal building in the US to close that day. Walking out, there was an eerie silence as the planes from Sky Harbor had long been grounded. People were sitting on the sidewalks stunned and immobile. Some workers from nearby offices were frantically dialing cell phones in futile attempts to reach out to family and friends.
    I will never forget.

  11. Maureen September 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    A member of my college class was in one of the buildings. She did not make it out. Another friend lost 24 friends who worked at the restaurant on the top floor of one of the towers. In Washington, every street out was a mass of cars going nowhere. (I couldn’t help but think, what if they’d bombed the bridges, the only ways in and out.) We’d been told to go home at 10:00. I tried, once, and made it only through the garage door before returning to my office. I couldn’t get out of the city until 2:00, and when I crossed Key Bridge the smoke from the Pentagon was thick and black and still rising. I had to go later down 395. To see that stunning hole in the Pentagon’s side, to understand how that plane had made it. . . my heart went to my mouth. My next door neighbor, an Army chaplain, spent three days straight at the Pentagon. He returned home with haunted eyes.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..All Art Friday =-.

  12. katdish September 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your stories. 9/11 is certainly one of those days everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing.

  13. Michelle DeRusha September 10, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    I can’t believe it’s been nine years — feels more like 3 or 4. We’d just moved to Nebraska — had been here one month, and I had a one-month-old baby, my oldest (now 9). It was so incredibly scary to be here, in this new state and place, with no family and friends, watching the world fall apart on the TV screen. I cried and cried as I held my newborn and watched the Today Show. It still feels so real and raw, 9 years later. I, too, struggle to forgive. And certainly will never forget.

    Thank you for writing about this important day — I hope we are still writing about it 19 and 99 years from now.
    .-= Michelle DeRusha´s last blog ..Signs =-.

  14. Megan September 11, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    I watched it with you. I was getting ready to go teach kindergarten. My son was one and Matt and Katie were talking about… something. The first place struck. Cameras started changing views and my heart started hammering. Then again and again and again. Every thing was in slow motion and those attacks that took only an hour and a half seemed to unfold over hours instead. Maybe it was continuous playbacks or maybe its because I still remember EXACTLY the way it was.

    Beautifully written.

  15. Tony Alicea September 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    I was in an International Business class in college and I heard whispers that something had happened. As I walked into the next building after class, there were about fifty people huddled around a television set. I just remember wide eyes and jaws open wondering, what the heck happened?

    As I pushed my way to the TV set, my heart dropped. I couldn’t pull myself away from the television for the next few hours and the entire evening at work I listened to a radio broadcast. It is definitely a day I will never forget.

  16. Sandra Heska King September 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    It seems like yesterday. I was on my way to Bible study. A Beth Moore book. I heard the news on the radio, but details were sketchy, and nobody grasped the full impact. Church staff came into our room to update. We prayed. Still we didn’t comprehend.

    I was mesmerized by the television late into the night. Images seared into my head and heart. Still seems unreal. And real.
    .-= Sandra Heska King´s last blog ..Words for Then–and Now =-.

  17. Frank September 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    I had the same conversation on the phone with my mom as you did with your husband. She woke me up. I was amazed how even being 2000 miles away the whole world shut down. The mall was closed. I was called and told not to come in to work. Everyone was so scared because we didn’t know what or where was next. The terror in “terrorist”. They accomplished their goal. But the unity following was awe-inspiring. I only wish we continued in that unity, politically and religiously. Instead we all went back to the same-ole-same-ole. Thank you for the reminder.
    .-= Frank´s last blog ..Weekend Reading- 11 September =-.

  18. Mansi September 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    I was in India when the attacks happened…this essay chronicles what I saw then, and what I’m seeing now.
    .-= Mansi´s last blog ..September 11- 2010- let the healing begin =-.

  19. Tom Chalfant September 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    Wow Kat – our kids were the same age. Neither I nor my wife had much to do with airports, though – that must have been a chilling feeling, your husband being on the way to get on a plane.

    You know where I was, since my post was how we started talking.

    I had a newscast scene like that too – I think a lot of writers, people have to call them up and tell them to turn on the television. It was my mom who had to call me.

  20. David September 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    I was sitting at the PC chatting on ICQ with a friend in Greece a few minutes after 9 am (about 15 minutes after the first attack). He told me a plane had hit the WTC. I tried to bring up, but couldn’t. I thought it it was an accident. He was watching TV after school and feeding my information. I told my boss, and we finally got a new feed on the internet. At the time, there was still a lot speculation until the second one hit.

    I lived and worked just a few hundred yards for the entrance to Air Station Cape Cod and heard the sirens, and fighter jets take flight. It was fearful, and my kids were miles away at school.

    We went home and armed ourselves, and sat and watch it unfold on TV. In the midst, my mother was dying of cancer and never knew what happened to her beloved America.

    I went to 9/11 Memorial in my town to pray for the US, and mediate – think about the 17 from my current town that lost their lives that day.
    .-= David´s last blog ..You Cant Fix Stupid- but You Can Vote it Out! =-.

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