Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Remembering 9/11—Open Book Blog Hop

There are certain moments that define our lives and become part of our culture. The Kennedy assassinations, Kent State, Mount Saint Helens, the Challenger exploding, and of course, the events of September 11, 2001.

I'm not going to post any pictures for this entry. We've all seen them, and for those of us who lived through the day, they're burned into our brain. Each time I see them, the terror  and sorrow of the day rushes back.

I was working in a small branch of a law-enforcement related agency. It was a fairly normal, busy day, with scads of paperwork to get down for the courts. I'm not sure which on my co-workers first alerted the rest of the office to the first plane crashing, but soon the word spread.

A TV was set up in an office so we could keep track of what was going on while continuing to work. We tried to keep things going normally—we had clients in and out of the office—but it wasn't easy. When the second plane flew into the Towers, none of us could believe it.

I think the tears started flowing when the towers collapsed. 

When the plane plowed into the Pentagon, it  get personal. I have a brother who lived and worked in the Washington DC area, and although he didn't work for the military, I was worried about him. I was also worrying about my sister, who sometimes—but rarely—went into New York for her job.  

About the time we heard the first reports of a plane flying around Pennsylvania, the building was evacuated. No one could imagine our little office would be a target for anyone, but no one could imagine any of the day's events. I was freaking out, because most of my family lived in Pennsylvania—my parents in particular because they lived in rural are in the western portion of the state— and suddenly we were cut off from the news. There we were, standing in the hot Florida sun, watching the skies, while I worried about about my parents and my siblings. 

I didn't even have a cell phone to call them. Luckily, a few of my co-workers did, and one let me use hers to try to reach my parents. It took too long to get through. The lines were overloaded and it took too many tries before I was able to establish a connection. Finally, I got ringing at the other end, and my mother picked up.

At that point, most of my brothers and sisters had checked in. Everyone was safe. The only sibling that hadn't reached  out to my parents was in a location that appeared to be safe.

Eventually, we were allowed back inside and we went back to work. Not that anything went back to normal. 

One of the weirdest things over the next couple of days was the absence of planes in the skies overhead. There were always planes in the sky, no matter one time of the day or night as we lived along several major plane routes. To look around and see no contrails, and hear nothing but traffic and birds, felt like a scene out of a sci-fi flick.

And that's my personal remembrance of 9/11. If you'd like to share yours, you can do it in the comments.

To read about the experiences of others in our hop, check out the links below. One of them is Kelly Williams. Here's a direct link to her blog. Blue Honor

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