Remembering 9-11-2001, — I recall awakening a bit later than normal for me on 9-11-01, due to a headache. It was a beautiful day in Charleston. Bright sunshine, clear skies. The phone rang. I checked caller ID noticing it was my husband. “Now what is it he wants so early this morning?” Those of you who know us recognize that my husband would be surgically attached to me — IF he could! Answering the phone as my head pounded, his first words were, “Are you watching TV?”
“No. I have a headache.”
“I know how you love to stay in touch with current events. You might turn the news on. A jet has crashed into the World Trade Center.”
My mind raced with dreadful thoughts. ‘How could this happen? How could a plane drift off course and crash into the World Trade Center?
Turning the television on, I listened as the broadcasters speculated what was happening. The news was happening so quickly, speculations were changing every moment, every breath. No social media on that date. No Facebook. Twitter…just speculations as the broadcasters raced with bated breaths to report “the latest…” Cell phones around the locations of the World Trade Center were jammed. Communication was almost crippled.
My mind drifted to those inside the World Trade Center. The receptionists, administrative assistants, food service workers, and others — trapped inside. What must it be like to glance outside the windows to watch an airplane approaching so closely one could almost see the color of the pilots eyes? What must it be like to see the plane crashing into the windows while recognizing you have no way to escape? Those questions would never be answered.
Reports continued…smoke billowing out of the buildings. People rushing out of the building. Another report stated that the people inside of the World Trade Center were told to stay inside. “No way.” I said. “I would get out of that building.”
My heart was heavy. Somehow I knew that something tragic was happening, and it was not an accident. A planned attack, to use American jets to crash into a building and kill Americans.
Nothing was reported about that, at the moment. Speculations. Guesses…Reports unconfirmed…
My mind drifted back to a nightmare I had a few nights prior to ‘9-11.’ In my dream there were four men dressed in black, moving across America, carrying weapons – shooting people on the beach, on the highways, and in populated areas. Never did I mention this horrific nightmare to anyone. I simply told myself I dreamed about the beach simply because I love the beach, and I love driving. I suppose I was psychoanalyzing my dreams. Weird! I have had visions such as this all of my life, just like my precious grandmother did.
Now, I was glued to the television. Afraid to move away for fear I might miss something. I saw the plumes of smoke coming from the buildings, and I watched in horror as another plane crashed into the second World Trade Center.
Shaking my head, I recognized this was not an accident, but a planned attack on America. In the blink of an eye, I recognized the United States of America was now at war. So frightening. So unexpected. Just how can this happen to US?
News reports continued as the broadcasters interviewed people on the streets, family members, and a few of the people trapped inside the buildings. Rescue teams and first responders, fire fighters, and medical triages were ready to assist those who needed medical care and assistance to escape, but as the news continued, Americans watched in horror as people who could not escape found a tragic way out — jumping out of the buildings. Tiny images of bodies flying out of the building, falling…falling…falling into a horrific moment of death. Although I wanted to turn the television off, I could not. This was a day I would never forget. I kept praying that rescuers would free more of the people, but the reports were skimpy. “These people need to get out,” I prayed. “They aren’t safe…What if…may God forgive me…but what if the building crumbles to the ground?”
I watched in horror as a horrific sound roared on the television and the building seemed to move, tumbling to the ground as smoke, debris, and the building fell to the ground.
“How can this happen? And why — why are buildings built so tall that people cannot escape safely? Who would do this? What kind of monster would crash a jet into a building?”
So many questions raced in my mind.
Twelve years later, much has happened to our nation. We are at war with Iraq and Afghanistan. Many lives have been lost and America will never feel the safety we once felt. The safety we took for granted. For a brief time, Americans pulled together to help one another, never thinking or suspecting that if we reach out to others, we might be helping, in some small, caring way. Now, we have more violence in our cities. We see people talking and texting on phones, never acknowledging others, appearing to be clueless to what is happening nearby. We are so wrapped up in our own lives that we take life for granted once again.
My wish for America is peace. Fellowship. Friendship. Trust and love for one another. We must remember 9-11, while recognizing that our lives have continued after such tragedy. I confess, it was difficult for me to awaken every morning for a while, without asking why. What would make someone such a monster that he would become so destructive, and that he and his followers would plan such an attack? Why?
While it is true that Osama bin Laden has been killed, his death does not end the threat of terrorism. Terrorism is everywhere. Not just in other countries. Terrorism is everywhere. In our cities. Our towns. And just because one terrorist was killed, this does not end terrorism.
Today is not a day to end this discussion with the subject of terrorism. Today, 9-11-2013, is a day of remembrance…a day to pray and give thanks for all that we, as Americans, have endured on 9-11-2001. May we move forward to embrace that we have life and freedom. Freedom comes with a cost. Sometimes a price that cannot be bought or expressed. Today is a day to embrace one another and to remember that many lives were lost, in the blink of an eye. None of us saw this coming. Today is a day to appreciate life and the loss of those we loved and lost, gone too soon.
May we never forget — 9-11-01. Please take a moment today from your busy life to remember those we lost. The price we have paid. The threats we have experienced. On the morning of 9-11-01, our world changed dramatically. Let us never forget it, the victims, families, and freedoms so threatened. Let us pray that we never experience such a tragedy again.
Today, my heart still breaks for those lost so unexpectedly, in the blink of an eye. Let us NEVER FORGET while we pray for our Nation, our soldiers in harms’ way, and for the freedoms we so cherish.