So, 14 years ago, I was sitting on the couch with my daughter, who had turned 4 months old that day. I turned on the news as I usually did and was immediately horrified by what I was seeing in front of me.
I tuned in after the first plane hit the World Trade Centre but before the second and I watched with terrible fear as that plane hit. I’ll be honest, the first thing I did was call my dad. Why? Because a few months before we had both read a Tom Clancy novel about a plane being flown into the Capitol Building and I was in such shock. I said “Dad, someone was reading that damn book.”
I never moved from in front of my TV that day. When the news came in from Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, I looked at my girl and wondered exactly what kind of world I had brought her into. And I cried, a lot. My whole family was nervous and scared and we called my brother, who was on his honeymoon in Washington state to get his ass home.
Over the next few days, we all watched as they desperately searched for someone (please God anyone) to be found in the rubble, but in the end, there were very few survivors after the fall.
Driving past the airport over the next couple of days was eerie, with all those planes sitting there and nothing coming and going. It made me wonder if the end of the world was coming far sooner than I ever thought possible.
At the fire hall in town the flag flew at half mast and the American Flag was up in the window for months afterward in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the US, and it brought tears to my eyes every time I saw it.
Did I mention that I’m Canadian? I live in the middle of the prairies. I couldn’t be much farther from New York City and still be on the same continent. But for a few months after September 11th, the whole world was brought closer as we reached out to help in any way that we could. As the flights landed and planes were grounded, stranded people were welcomed by small towns and big cities. Folks opened their homes and their hearts and their wallets and we all did our best in a situation that never occurred to us we could be in. Everyone thought that something so terrible could never happen in the United States. It was a false sense of security for so many people who not only live in the US but who depend on it’s seeming strength for reassurance.
I bought the People Magazine that came out a few weeks later and I still have it. My daughter took it to school a few years ago when they were discussing what happened in class. The photos seem like movies stills and the kids who look at them really can’t understand the scope of what happened and what was lost that day. So many lives were snuffed out for no reason that will ever make sense. We also lost our innocence that day. We believed that here in the western world that we were safe and protected here but if it can happen in NY it can happen anywhere.
Anyway, this post is just my thoughts and memories about what happened that day. I will never forget those people who died. The ones in the buildings and the planes. The ones who ran from danger and escaped and the police and firefighters who ran into danger and didn’t.