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!”
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.
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