Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Thoughts on 9/11

Everyone has a story about where they were on 9/11/01 when they first heard about the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Here's mine, a day late, but I have an excuse-- I was at the dentist's office nearly all day. So I missed out on that particular posting day.
I drove to work on my last day of a temporary assignment for a company where I had been a full-time employee for many years. Due to certain health considerations, I had to leave that company and go to work as a "temp" administrative assistant for any venue that needed me for a day, a week, or even a year, at one point. But this day was my last day as a "temp" in this particular company.
The car radio was on, and the music was stopped for a bit of news: An airplane had flown into the The World Trade Center. I pulled into the parking lot and went inside the building and checked in with the security guards, telling them about the plane hitting the WTC. They turned their television set on and I went up the elevator to the 14th floor and entered my workspace. I told my colleagues about the news. Someone turned the television on that was used for depositions, etc. and by that time, the second plane had hit.
All pretense at working halted as we watched the news unfold.
Then, we heard that the Pentagon was on fire; an airplane had hit that building.
A gnawing sense of unease hit me in the gut. "We're at war," I said. Someone looked at me and asked, "What?" I repeated myself, a bit louder. "We're at war." This old army brat had pulled her old experiences from not only her memory, but from her intuition. My dad had instilled in me certain key indicators of what constitutes a war, since we were part of the US Army of Occupation in Austria after WWII. And this fit his premise exactly.
The department personnel clustered around the television set, watching the events unfold. Shanksville, PA is another place where planes went down; this time from heroic acts by its passengers.
It was soon time to leave for a doctor's appointment, and I would not return to that office, as my work was done. But when I entered the waiting room for my doctor's visit, the television was also bringing us the horrible news: One of the WTC buildings was falling, to be followed shortly by the other.
Appropriately, I was in my psychiatrist's office (I should add here, that a psychiatrist is the appropriate person to dispense anti-depressants only; the old cartoon of a patient lying on a couch and saying what he "feels" is no longer valid.) I was there to report on how the anti-depressant was working for me. Having lupus brings with it a built-in depression; chemical changes in brain activity.
We barely spoke to each other, I told him only what was necessary, and we both went into the waiting room to see the ongoing devastation.
A pit was forming in my solar plexus, as if I had been hit by something. When I reached my apartment, I called my children, something I learned most people did. They were all right. Stunned, of course, but unharmed.
The television remained on until I went to bed, and my dreams were populated by images of people jumping from a high building. What a horrible choice to make.
Life went on around me, but it seemed in slow motion. The pit in my stomach lasted for about a month. Like others, I was in shock.
Time has passed, and a semblance of normalcy returned. Life goes on.
Each year, as I watch the remembrances in all three locations where the terrorists took so many lives, I remember that day, wishing I didn't have to look at it again, if only in memory.
An ordinary day in September. Burned forever in our hearts and minds.
God help us prevent this or anything like this from ever happening again.


  1. Sad day, just sad all the way around. I had the morning news show on and saw the second plane in real time. I remember there were no planes in the sky for a few days. I also remember no commercials other than nice ones for education, charities, and other public service announcements. Contemplative post Marilyn.

  2. I was teaching in a classroom with a bunch of third and fourth graders. We didn't know about it and went on with our day like nothing was happening. We slowly got word when other staff came to get children. I remember that we couldn't let children leave to go to other classes or allow parents into our rooms. They were afraid that the upset parents would scare the children. It was only when I went home that I found out about the reality that happened that day. None of those students or myself realized how much the world changed that day.