Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were You?

I've missed my last two post days. Both times I was on vacation. I was going to post today about the runaway farmsitter who abandoned our animals, took our truck without permission, and hasn't been seen since (the truck ended up in impound). I also considered posting about the Orca whales we saw on vacation (3 separate sightings). I wondered if I should start my planned series titled So You want to Ride Dressage.

When I woke up this morning, none of it seemed appropriate. While it's not horse-related, I chose to tell my tale of where I was when the towers fell. I'd like to hear your story, too.
I'm on the west coast, and I was starting work at 7 am that summer. Since my commute takes a half hour, I got up early. As I was getting out of the shower that morning, my former husband (we'll call him John) called to me from the living room. He told me a Cessna or something had flown into the WTC.

As I continued to get ready, I wondered if the pilot was committing suicide or what. It didn't make sense. John called to me again, telling me another plane had hit the 2nd tower. I hurried to the living room. He was staring at the TV in shock. Turning to me he says, "That was no Cessna." He said a reporter was standing in front of the WTC reporting on the first crash when a plane flew right behind her and hit the 2nd tower. She didn't even notice it until her camera man pointed it out.

I turned on the news as I got in my truck to head for work. I was barely out of the driveway when it was reported that the Pentagon had been hit.

I had no idea what was going on, nor did anyone else, but the preliminary reports were that America was being attacked by terrorists. As soon as I got to work, I turned on the big screen TV in my temporary "office." I work at the state capitol. My colleague and I, who do computer support for the Legislature, had been displaced from our real office earlier that year when a 6.8 earthquake closed our capitol building. We'd been put in a hearing room for the summer. This room had all the multi-media stuff including a projector and a big screen.

My colleague showed up shortly after I did. We sat in a couple chairs in the hearing room and watched the rest of it unfold on the huge screen. Soon we were joined by a few other staff members. Our capitol campus was on lockdown, no one allowed in or out. Personally, I wanted to go home, well aware our capitol building was a replica of the one in DC and could be a symbolic west coast target. I knew it was a remote possibility, but I knew I wouldn't be worth much at work that day.

The entire day was eerie and surreal. Very few people came to work that day. The few that did seemed to congregate in our hearing room to watch our TV. We were locked in these deserted capitol buildings for the majority of the day.

We watched in horror as people jumped to their death in an attempt to avoid being burned alive. We saw the first tower fall, and my heart sank. I felt sick. I knew all those first responders were inside, valiantly rushing to save the people on the upper floors. Not to mention the people trapped inside or attempting to escape. My next thought was get out of the second tower now.

I heard reports that another plane was unaccounted for. Next I heard it had crashed in a field about ten minutes from the nation's Capitol. Even then I wondered if the passengers might have brought it down. Several minutes later the 2nd tower collapsed.

I spent the remainder of the day, reeling from shock, bathed in grief for the loved ones of all those people who had died, and full of hope that survivors would be found. Of course, very few were as the days unfolded.

As we remember this day, let us not forget the good things which came out of it. We united as a nation. People generously helped other people. We gained a renewed respect for our first responders. And let us not forget all the people effected by this tragedy.

Feel free to tell us your story and reactions of that day.


Laura Crum said...

We are on our way down to our local fire station. My husband, who plays the bagpipes, plays the pipes there on 9/11 in honor of all the firefighters who died in the rescue attempt.

My inlaws were scheduled to fly to the west coast to visit us Sept 12th of that year. I thank God it wasn't the 11th. Their flight was cancelled, of course, but had it been a day earlier they would have been caught up in the drama.

My thoughts are with the families of all who died on that terrible day.

Chelsie said...

I was in school when it all happened. I was in 5th grade at the time. I remember watching the news with my family, and trying to understand what was going on. I remember being afraid and sad.

Camryn said...

I was working, a customer came in asking if we'd heard. I'm "heard what" then he told us of the first plane. Thought as he's a prankster that he was joking around. The next several days to a week passed by as if in a fog. Still recall the earie feeling of seeing no planes.
My eldest son decided to join the Army because of 911, served two tours safely in Iraq. Now is in the reserves, and is a Firefighter.
Spent today riding, & humming "Where Were You"...

Gayle Carline said...

I was, as every one else, being normal that day until normal disappeared. My son needed to be assured that no one would bomb his school. My co-workers at the aerospace company wondered what to do next, since concentrating on work seemed impossible. The one truly personal and odd thing that happened to me was, it was the last time my mare dumped me.

Natalie Keller Reinert said...

I was on a horse.

I worked at a Thoroughbred training center and was out on a yearling in a back pasture. The secretary radioed our foreman to ask him how to get the television back to English language, because someone had bombed New York City.

Alison said...

Jami, great blog but I still want to hear about the runaway housesitter!

It's interesting to read what everyone was doing on 9/11. Thanks!