I was chatting with a friend yesterday, and we both shared our experiences of where we were on September 11, 2001. It feels to me like perhaps the single most memorable day for many Americans. My parents, who are in their sixties, can still recall exactly where they were and what they were doing the day President Kennedy was shot, and how they felt at the time. September 11th feels that way to me, and probably always will. One day, when my daughter is older, my husband and I will tell her about our experiences of that sad and shocking day. Here’s mine:
I grew up about 60 miles north of NYC, and because much of my father’s family still lived there, we spent a lot of time there when I was growing up. I also attended graduate school there, and while it took a little while for me to get used to living in such a crowded, loud, energetic, and sometimes scary place, I eventually fell head-over-heals in love with NYC. I lived there throughout my two years of graduate school, and for another year, before the company I worked for asked me to move to the San Francisco Bay Area for my job. I was resistant at first, but eventually decided that it would be a great personal development experience, and went for it. Although I firmly believed that NYC was the center of the universe and the best place on earth to live, I moved in July, 2000.
On September 11, 2001, I was getting ready for work, and had the TV on in the background. I was in the bathroom, when I heard Katie Couric’s voice. It was not yet time for the Today Show to start, (I was on West Coast time), so I went to the TV to see what was going on. That’s when I saw everything unfolding. I eventually went to work that morning, but no one even attempted to do any work. It was a confusing day, with friends and family members from around the country checking in with each other. More than anything, I remember feeling like I belonged in NYC, and desperately wishing I was there. It felt like my true home, and I couldn’t believe I was across the country while this was happening.
I also remember my feelings of complete shock, disbelief, and confusion as to why this had taken place. I remember the news coverage was constant, and some of the channels didn’t run any commercials for the first few days. I remember falling asleep in front of the coverage those first few nights, trying to make sense of it all. I remember a dear friend and mentor telling me, “I hope we find whoever did this, and bomb them ’til they glow.” Harsh words, but I think they captured the anger many Americans felt in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. I also remember feeling powerfully relieved that no one I knew was directly impacted by the attacks that day, and complete and utter devastation for the people who weren’t so lucky.
What about you? Where were you on September 11, 2001? What do you remember most about that awful day?
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