I Remember

Sep 11, 2014 by

September 11, 2001.

The day began like any other normal homeschooling morning in our home. My son, Seth, was thirteen years old and my daughter, Savannah, was six. As part of our normal school schedule, the kids and I would watch Good Morning America together as we ate breakfast. It was a way for us to start our morning as a family, learn about current events, and enjoy some fun lifestyle stories before hitting the books. I was busy making breakfast, Savannah was coloring, and Seth was working on schoolwork. It was a normal broadcast with ABC news anchors Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer doing what they did best.  It was like any typical weekday morning…or so we thought.

I remember it vividly.

At approximately 7:46 a.m., Diane Sawyer announced that there was a possible explosion at the World Trade Center. We now know that it was American Airlines Flight 11, crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Programming was pre-empted and everything was a flurry of reporting.  My eyes were glued to the screen and what I was witnessing.  The next hour played out scene after scene of horrific events that unfolded, most of them unbelievable and hard to comprehend.  At 9:03 a.m., Charlie Gibson was getting bits and pieces of information that was probably being fed to him through his earpiece. They began live coverage and Charlie Gibson bagan talking to an aviation expert who was reporting on the first plane’s impact on the North Tower.  While they were talking, the second plane (United Airlines Flight 175) hit the South Tower.  Peter Jennings was at the ABC News Nightly News desk and they quickly cut to him. Diane, Charlie and Peter Jennings began their mutual coverage on this historic event.  At 9:37 a.m., while Peter Jennings was on the air with Claire Shipman, he broke the news of American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon. The news quickly became a frantic race to cover the events, the fall of the Twin Towers, and the chaos that ensued. I remember vividly how the kids and I froze as we watched Good Morning America’s broadcast. Peter Jennings broke down on the air and told us that if we had kids, now would be a good time to call them.  I hugged mine closely that morning.  Our nation would never be the same.

 

We were working on art projects for school that would become magnets for a fund raiser. This was my art project and is a magnet on my file cabinet.

My husband, Sam, was not home. He was on tour with Lord of the Dance’s second troupe who were in a resident show at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi. We were so thankful that Sam was back at work. You see, he had just recovered from a recurrence of Hodgkin’s Disease and nine months off the road due to chemotherapy treatment. We had just come through an unexpected tragedy that hit our family.  I knew what it felt like to experience sudden fear.   I remember calling Sam frantically, waking him up. After a few calls, he answered and I told him to turn on the TV. Shortly after that phone call, my sister who lives in Arizona called me. She too was frantic; my brother-in-law was on a return business flight from Europe and was scheduled to land in New York.  He was on one of the planes that was forced to circle for hours while airports were scrambling, trying to find a way to land the incoming commercial planes amidst the chaos.

 

I cancelled school that day. I called all my friends, rallying those I knew to join me in prayer for the people of Manhattan and New York. My heart was so burdened, feeling so much pain, so much sorrow.  Oh, how the heart of God must have ached that day. The kids and I continued to watch, in dismay, the news coverage of that fateful day. Savannah’s coloring efforts had changed, bringing me a picture that she colored, her six year old handwriting recording the urgent need for prayer.

A few years passed, and my husband’s tour was scheduled for a week’s run in Washington D.C.  Once again, the kids and I were excited to visit all of our favorite places; the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, but this stop, we decided to visit the American History Museum.  Once we stepped inside, I realized that I was standing in a place of great sadness and memory.  There, in the lobby, hung the flag that once flew over Ground Zero.  It’s tattered and frayed edges still showed signs of that tragic day.  It was a somber walk through the museum as we walked by walls of the remains

Thirteen years have passed.

Our nation will never be the same. It wasn’t the same during World War II when Pearl Harbor was hit. September 11th is now a sacred day. Our nation came together like never before. There were no political lines, no bickering. We were a nation that, once again, endured a brutal attack. America’s people rose up and stood to face the enemy like we have so many times in the past.  May we always remember the great price that has been paid for our freedom.

God bless the United States of America, our armed forces, the people of New York City, The New York Fire Department and Port Authority, the NYPD, the people of  Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and the families whose lives will never be the same.

When I talk to my high school students, I have to remember that most of them were not alive when 9/11 happened.  Now, there are generations who only know about this event from history books or commemorative celebrations.  They will never know the fear and utter shock felt from this tragic event in history.  Who will tell the stories?

I will…..because I remember.

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