Friday, September 10, 2010

9/11 Nine Years Later...

There are events in each of our lives that seem to have a "sticking place". They are the events that we will forever recall exactly where we were or what what we were doing when we heard of a certain event. Some of mine are when it was announced that the Vietnam war ended, the day Elvis Presley died, the day Princess Diana died and September 11, 2001.

On this, the anniversary of 9/11, it is impossible for me to think back at that time without a heavy heart and tears. I remember that I was at home with Annah and with Abigail and the television was on the Today Show. The phone rang and it was a friend of mine who had called with a question for me. While we were on the phone she said, "Oh, something happened. A plane hit a building in New York City." I quickly changed the channel and saw the smoking building where the plane had hit. I was stunned by the story and wondered how that could have happened.

I said to my friend that I wondered if it was intentional -- an act of terrorism. We finished our conversation and hung up. I stood there in front of the the TV watching black smoke pour from the skyscraper and listening to the live news feed that was being run when to my shock, a second plane came in and struck the second building. I knew at that second it was not an accident but terrorists. I was so shaken by what I was seeing.

As the story unfolded that morning I tried to go about doing what I had planned to do. Just before the story broke I was just getting ready to go to the grocery store. I decided I would quickly go and get what I needed and get back home as quick as I could. Once at the store and on my way in I called my mother on my cell phone. We talked briefly about what had happened and I hung up to get what I needed at the store. I felt scattered. I couldn't remember anymore what I was there to get.
As I gradually started to calm down and was able to think a bit more clearly I began to gather what I had come for. In the process of that my mother called me to to tell me that a plane had hit the Pentagon.

I felt panicked.
My breathing felt constricted.
I felt like I just needed to get home.
I needed to go get my kids from school. We needed to be together in the face of the chaos that had broken out.
I checked out with what I had in my cart and got home as quick as I could.

By the time I got home a plane had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. What was happening?
I called Tim and asked if he thought I should go get the kids from school. We talked and decided to leave the kids where they were. It was hard to wait the hours until they would be back home and I felt anxious. I was consumed by the coverage of all that was happening and wondered what more was going to happen.

That evening we were to attend a parent's meeting for Andrew (who was in 8th grade) to be able to go on a class trip to Washington D.C. The meeting was cancelled and ultimately so was the trip. We stayed home that night just wanting to keep our family close to us. Young Tim was 15, Andrew had turned 14 just 2 days before, Jordan was 11, Jacob 7, Abigail 4 and Annah was 2.

Less than a month later we were attending General Conference. (General Conferences are a semiannual meeting where our church leaders speak and give guidance to the members of the church. They are broadcast by satellite from Salt Lake City, Utah and are held the first weekend in April and October.) I had taken Annah into the mother's lounge to rock her to sleep while I listened through the sound system in that room. President Gordon B. Hinckley address the congregation that Sunday morning and he announced that our country was at war. I sat alone in that room holding Annah's small, sleeping body and sobbed.
On September 11, 2001 America was changed forever. In the days after the American people stood united. I don't think that is the case anymore and what a tragedy that is. We must not forgot what happened that day -- ever. We must never forget.


Cheeseboy said...

Excellent reminders. We need to always remember that day. That General Conference will likely remain my most remembered ever.

(On a separate note, I just posted my arm waxing.)

Loretta Valenta said...

I can feel your pain already, Cheeseboy! :O