Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001?
Everyone remembers, don’t they. On this 10th anniversary of the tragedy I will share my 9-11 story.
My story begins on Sunday September 2nd, 2001. My husband, son and I traveled north to NYC. We met some old friends at Liberty State Park, NJ and hopped the ferry to Liberty Island to view and visit the Statue of Liberty. My son was 14 years old and this was his first visit to the NYC area. It was our friend’s son’s first visit to the Statue of Liberty. His dad drives a Red Cross blood truck in Manhattan, so going to the city or even near the city isn’t high on his list of favorite things to do. We were all so excited. It was so much fun. We took the ferry. We saw Ellis Island on the way to Liberty Island. We disembarked at Liberty Island and got in line to go inside the statue. When we got to the top of the pedestal of the statue we stopped and took pictures of ourselves with the Twin Towers in the background. It was the iconic NYC backdrop and the classic NYC touristy visit. We continued our visit to the statue by climbing the stairs to the crown of the statue and looking out over the harbor and lower Manhattan. We took the ferry back to NJ and got in the car and scooted through the Holland Tunnel and down to the little Italy area of Manhattan. We had a lovely lunch at Umberto’s. I’m talking about the REAL Umberto’s on Mulberry St. The one with the real bullet holes in the wall from the killing of Crazy Joe Gallo. We drove down to the financial district and debated visiting the Twin Towers, but decided we had stood in enough lines for the day. There was always next year.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was a beautiful blue sky day. We woke up to a regular school day after a fun fun weekend in NYC with our friends. I sent my son off to school on the bus and turned on Good Morning America and poured myself a cup of coffee. I heard Diane and Charlie saying something about smoke coming out of one of the towers. I continued to get myself ready to go bowling. I was on a bowling league. This was one of the perks of being a stay-at-home mom. Suddenly I saw the second plane hit the second tower. I was stunned. I was sick. I didn’t know what to do. My decision was to continue with my day and go bowling. It was the right decision.
A little background information on me. At this time I am a retired naval aviator’s wife. My husband retired from the Navy as an S3 flier. He is currently working for a contractor in the Washington DC area. He is, what is known as a “beltway bandit.” He travels to the Pentagon for meetings on a regular basis. Most of the women on the bowling league I bowl with are either active duty military wives or retired military wives, like myself. I was in good company.
As we bowled we watched the events of that terrible day unfold on tv. We were nervous that the terrorists would continue hitting targets down the coast. I couldn’t remember if my husband was at the Pentagon or in town that day. I couldn’t reach him on the phone. I could reach my mom. She reminded me his usual Pentagon meeting was on Mondays, not Tuesdays. *sigh* Thank God for mom.
I watched the smoke billow from the Pentagon. I watched the first tower fall. I watched the second tower fall. I saw the scorched earth in Shanksville, PA. I still had not heard from my husband, but I wasn’t as worried. Mom had put my mind at ease.
I decided I would go to my part-time job at the pregnancy care center. I was an administrative assistant there. All the volunteers and administrators were there. I put in my four hours. It was the right decision.
When I left my office, I decided to stop and my son’s school and pick him up a bit early. I discovered I was one of the last parents to pick up their child. My son was a bit upset with me. We talked about it and he understood. There was no one at home. Being at school was the best place for him. My husband was in town and not at the Pentagon. We were all safe. At the end of the workday we all gathered around the tv and watched the news together.
This is my 9-11 story. There wasn’t another opportunity to visit the Twin Towers. We know we need to grab opportunities when they occur. We tell each other “I love you” when we are together. Life is short. And it can be snatched away at a moment’s notice.
Live well, laugh often, love much.
And never forget.