I can't usually remember what I did a week ago let alone something that happened ten years ago, but September 11th, 2001, is a day I will remember for the rest of my life. And not just moments. I can play it back in my mind in great detail.... over and over again !
It was a Tuesday, and I was off from work. I had an important bill that needed to go out that day but I had run out of stamps. So I jumped in my car at 8: 30 and arrived about ten minutes later at the post office. I remember being mad because I was third in line, and they had just opened. As I came up to the desk the little radio that they always had playing music suddenly broke in with a news report about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center buildings. My first thoughts were not of terrorists but of an incident that happened, I think during, or just after World War II, when a B- 25 bomber struck the Empire State building. I figured it was probably a small plane that was sight seeing and somehow flew into the building. I paid for my stamps, and rushed home to watch the events unfold on CNN.
I got home just in time to see the second plane ( flight 175) crash into the South Tower, while the North Tower ( Flight 11) had flames and thick smoke billowing out of it. This was obviously no accident, this was a planned terrorist attack. I remember feeling so sorry for the innocent passengers on both flights, and thinking how meaningless their deaths were. I also feared for the people who were above the floors that were hit by both planes. Then I heard something I thought I would never hear. CNN was reporting that people were jumping from the top floors of the WTC buildings. I wasn't sure exactly how high the buildings were, but I knew that to jump from that height they were faced with a horrible choice, burn to death, or jump to their death. Some chose the latter ! As I am writing this my eyes are watering just thinking about that moment. It was just awful !
Just when It looked like this human tragedy couldn' t get any worse CNN reported that there had been an explosion at the Pentagon. The first reports could not confirm that it had been a plane, but all indications pointed in that direction. Then I heard something outside that you do not here usually in my area. I heard what sounded like military jets flying off in the distance overhead.
I think I was actually a little mind numb at this point. This was a lot to take in, in about an hour. America had been attacked for the first time since Pearl Harbor ! I remember telling myself several times that this was real even though I was watching it. And then I saw what I thought was an optical illusion. One of the towers started shrinking ! Actually it was collapsing. I just sat their stunned as the building collaped into itself. CNN, who seemed to have cameras everywhere, showed the dust cloud as it bellowed up the streets, like the hand of God in the Ten Commandments movie when God kills all the first born children. I remember waking up out of my stupor, and yelling at the T. V. for the people to get out of the still standing tower. I just had a bad feeling !
I think the 2nd tower lasted about 30 minutes longer, but I had lost track of time at this point. When it did collapse all I could do was think of the parents who would never see their children again ; the husbands and wives who would never see their spouses again, and the children...... oh by the Gods, all the children who would never see one or both of their parents. It was horrible, just horrible ! So many lost in such a short period of time. It was just too much to take in at once ! Even today the numbers still shock me.
But incredibly enough it was not yet over. As I sat there watching the choking smoke covering all of the Manhattan downtown area, and people literally covered with dirt, and some bleeding, CNN broke in to say that Flight 93 had crashed into a field in Western Pennsylvania. All I could think of was, " please let this be it. No more please' ! Don't let anyone else die ! The rest of the day I sat in front of the T.V. watching as reports came in from Washington, I think President Bush was visiting some school children when it happened, New York, and Pennsylvania. I skipped lunch that day, and ate supper in the living room in front of the television. I did venture outside once, and heard only silence. Planes usually turn over our house to go to one of the local airports in the area, but there was nothing but silence. Silence that is except for the occasional warplane flying overhead.
Today I will be honoring the 2,977 innocent victims of this senseless tragedy with a special ritual. But no words, no honor, no amount of sorrow will ever bring these people back to their loved ones. And that is the biggest tragedy of all. For now, and forever, these innocent victims will remain in our thoughts and our hearts, and be remembered for eternity.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !