I don't know if I can really describe my feelings on this day. Perhaps it is because it's the 10th anniversary...and so it seems more recognized media-wise than the past due to the memorial being complete. Or because a decade is naturally more of a focused anniversary. That thought bothers me tremendously...to know that many years have past and I have not mourned as much as this one in awhile. I think that is life, though. You can never quite count on emotions coming in a timely manner. But today I want to remember. I want to feel what I felt when American soil was attacked. And so I do.
I was pregnant with Brianna who was due in 2 months and living in Columbus, Ga. My little sisters were also staying with me (ages 2 and 3) while my mom flew to Seattle. As a morning ritual since I had quit my job I was watching the Today Show. Immediately after the 1st tower was hit coverage began. It seemed like a dreadful accident, and I was in awe of the damage I was watching on my screen. Minutes later a second plane flew into the other tower. The explosion was immediate and it was apparent in that moment that this was on purpose. A terrorist attack. It was sickening.
I called Aaron at work at Blue Cross Blue Shield immediately but could not reach him. About 30 minutes later he called me back and said that they were letting everyone come home. In the meantime, I watched and listened. They were shutting down all airplane travel. Another plane had hit the pentagon. I was in a panic.
My mom was on a plane.
I watched the news footage as people were jumping out of the building, not wanting to burn to death and chose an alternate route. I didn't see how anyone could get out of such tall building. The elevators...the jammed stairwells...how could they get out?
As that thought continued to turn over in my brain the building fell. Shortly after the other tower did the same. It was a dust cloud covering the city. The rare footage we received was camera angles from afar or dust clouds from on street coverage as the air somewhat cleared. I saw the fireman and people screaming as they ran. It was a nightmare. I cried in fear. Fear for those whose lives were lost and still potentially dying. Fear for any more terrorist attacks. They could hit anywhere at anytime. And fear for my mom who was flying. I didn't know where she was or where she was going to be.
It wasn't until hours later when I got the call that they had an emergency landing in St. Louis. As events progressed she told me what the pilots had said. They were told to either drop and land or be shot down by the F-16s flying next to them. But that she was okay and that was relief in itself.
At the same exact time today they aired the coverage from that morning. The same Today Show 10 years ago. I sat for as long as I could and watched. This time as my almost 10 year old daughter bounced around the room with my son. I had to shush them so I could watch and listen. They had no idea what I was watching. They would never fully know. But it is up to me to teach them to understand the sorrow. And feel gratitude for our life..our breathe...and to remember the thousands of those who lost life on that day and for the armed forces who still continue to do so.
I need to remember so I won't forget.