Memories of 9/11 Fifteen years later:
September 11th 2001. It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since that tragic day. And like most citizens of this nation, I remember practically every detail of what happened during those horrific moments when the towers fell.
I was home from work with a really bad cold getting ready for a morning doctor’s appointment. I assumed it was my usual first cold of the teaching year, but this time I thought I might need a round of antibiotics and so that particular morning I was home drinking coffee and watching the news rather than working in my classroom, when I saw the exact moment the first plane hit the Twin Towers. I remember in slow motion putting my coffee cup down, and looking at the TV screen in disbelief. My mouth agape, I was totally stunned, not sure what I was witnessing. And then the news kept playing it over and over again. I grabbed the phone and called my now late husband, who was teaching an American history class at Dillard High School. I told him to immediately put on his classroom television and turn on the news, explaining that a plane had crashed into the Twin Towers. And as I was reporting the incident, the second plane came flying in and the tower burst into flames. I screamed out loud as it happened. There was a silence out of shock as we both watched it together, but miles apart. Suddenly, I heard a group of his high school students scream in the background. I told him I would call him back after the doctors and we hung up not even knowing what to say because neither of us could even comprehend what we had just witnessed. I continued to get dressed, still watching the news, horrified as I, along with the country, now realized that this was not pilot error. It was an attack. Yes, America was beginning to comprehend that for the first time in modern history we were being attacked on U.S. soil.
I drove to the doctor’s listening intently to the radio news trying to understand the depth of what was going on, and when I got to the office the nurses and doctors were huddled around various televisions that usually shared health hints in the waiting room, but now were tuned into the crash site and the tumbling towers as the news unfolded. I was called back into a patient room by a nurse, but then was waved over to a TV in the very back of the row of offices. It was then I heard about some of the other events of the day. We all looked at each other horrified. Men and women of all ages, races, doctors, nurses, patients in total disbelief. I remember an elderly patient crying. My doctor/nurse practitioner, grabbed my hand and took me into the room to check me out. I believe she gave me a sample Z pack since I have no memory of ever going to the pharmacy. (That part is hazy. I might have gone to the pharmacy, but I truly don’t recall.) We briefly shared how horrified we were and I told her that I was going straight to pick up my middle school child and she said, she wasn’t quite sure what she was going to do, but also expressed concern about her boys who were young and in school as well. We looked at each other shocked and grief stricken and then hugged. And I left the office.
Suddenly, everyone became afraid for the children. The realization that perhaps these attacks could happen randomly anywhere in our country, even in schools, entered every parent’s mind. So, when I left my doctor’s office, I headed straight for my son’s middle school. My son, Johnny was clueless as to why I was picking him up early and even more baffled that other parents were beginning to crowd the office asking for the release of their children too. While driving home my husband called panicking and telling me to pick up our son, I explained that I already had. We expressed our love for one another and then hung up. I called my 28-year-old son who was working and he said he was fine and it was business as usual and told me not to worry. He worked for the Miami Dolphins back then and nothing changed a sports schedule until a national emergency was declared. I told him to keep in touch and that I loved him. He said the same.
And so I drove home, coughing and sneezing, feverish, and in total shock over what had happened in our country.
I had some chicken soup, took my medicine, and continued to watch the news. My 13-year-old son, Johnny watched a little news too and quite honestly I am not quite sure how he felt. I was crying by now and hugging him, because everything was sinking in and I don’t believe my youngest son understood the extent of what was really going on. He watched a little TV and I told him not to worry about anything, that our country and the military had things under control and he seemed ok, just saddened at the loss of life. We both cried. I encouraged him to work on homework and he went to his room to finish a school project. And then until my husband came home I don’t think I left the family room. I was glued to the television. Our family watched news non-stop for updates and luckily, my husband brought home dinner on his way home from work. Together as a family we felt closer than ever, and yet we watched in a zombie like state, as our nation seemed shattered. I remember sobbing as I gazed through tear streaked eyes at the brave first responders trying to save those in need and my husband and I clung to each other tightly still in disbelief.
There are no words great enough to describe the events of that fateful day and all those who lost their lives when the towers fell. No words significant enough to express the sorrow and loss our country endured. Fifteen years…. we can never forget.