I remember the weather – brilliant blue, sunny sky and crisp, cool air.
I remember leaving my almost 5 year old daughter in her Kindergarten classroom.
I remember walking into work and being met by a client who told me that a plane had just crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings.
I remember thinking what a freak accident that was as we watched in horror as another plane hit the second building.
I remember my boss arriving and ushering us into a scheduled meeting because as he said in his trademark cackle, “life goes on” – yes, I know that was one of many red flags which should have led me to run, not walk, far away from him.
I remember being called away from the meeting by my daughter’s school. They instructed me to pick her up because they were closing for the day. I remember finding out about the Pentagon and the other plane still up in the air as I rushed out the door. I remember being embarrassed that I didn’t instinctively run out to go get her as soon as the news broke, like so many other parents did.
I remember driving my daughter home and feeling like I was watching a movie and trying to shield her from what had happened and the fear that was setting in.
I remember waiting with my Mom for my husband and my Dad to make their way home from downtown DC, where they both worked at the time.
I remember a lot of hugging and a flood of thoughts and anxious words about what really matters.
I remember being relieved when it was time to put my daughter to bed that night.
I remember sitting in front of the TV all evening with my husband and my folks, in disbelief, speechless.
I remember the repeated video clips of the impact, the fire, the smoke, the falling, all of those people covered in dust.
In the days after the attack, I remember the school having us put together shelter-in-place kits for our children. I remember the little cotton baby blanket and stuffed black puppy dog I squeezed into the box along with the other mandatory stuff.
I remember making sure to keep our gas tanks full and stocking our cars and home with emergency supplies.
I remember having an increasingly difficult time watching the coverage on TV but being glued to The Washington Post.
I remember finding out that the mother of a girl I went to high school with had been on the plane that hit the Pentagon.
I remember stories of bravery and compassion and kindness and love so beautiful that sometimes, even for someone like me, they were louder than the horror of the attack.
I remember not being able to imagine being there, working there, living there. It was already too close.
The rest is a blur except that for a very long time there wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t think about it….the actual attack, the people who lost their lives, the survivors, those who fought to save lives, the families, what it meant for us and for our country and for the world, what might happen next and what we would do when/if it did.
That’s all I’ve got except for
I’ve read a couple of books about 9/11 that I highly recommend – Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – a heartbreaking and hopeful novel narrated by the nine year old main character who loses his father in the attack and The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew — Three Women Search For Understanding (reading this one again right now).
Springsteen wrote The Rising album in response to 9/11 and it’s a powerful portrait of our world that changed overnight, of our new reality. The song “You’re Missing”, IMO, is the most stunningly gorgeous and painful song written about the aftermath of that day.