Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Remember


It was a glorious morning in Maryland with clear blue skies, sunshine, and cool breezes wafting through the classroom windows. Eight hundred bright students and a refreshed faculty and staff were all gathered in the high school gymnasium attending a Back to School liturgy. We all felt connected that morning and raised our voices in song together, unlike many liturgies before.

Near the end of the closing hymn, someone delivered a message to the Principal. He made an announcement that we didn’t fully comprehend. “…an aircraft has crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. Let us pray.” A freshman girl sitting on the bleachers knew her Dad had a morning appointment in one of those towers. He occasionally had business there. His body was soon identified.

Five hundred miles away, my daughter was stunned. She dialed my cell phone from her condo at the university. I reassured her, “Oh, Gina, it was probably pilot error.” She knew more than I did. “No, Mom. The other tower has been hit.” Her classes were cancelled.

I wanted to reach through the phone and pull her close to me. Without waiting a minute, I wanted to gather her, my husband, and everyone I else loved.

The school office phones rang continually, students were dismissed, and after the last student left the campus I went to my car, still not knowing all of the ugly details of the day. The ride home was quiet and strange. It was such a beautiful day... When I looked at other drivers’ faces, I saw grave concern. American flags were already being draped over store fronts and homes.

So I sat in my family room for the rest of the day, feeling helpless, and watched the tragic, life changing events unfold on TV.

God Bless Us.

Where were you six years ago on this day at 8:46 a.m.?
Who were you missing?


KGMom said...

Mary--while I was at work, our daughter was attending college at Georgetown U in Wash DC. She & her roommates could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon. Within hours, military vehicles were patrolling up & down the narrow streets of Georgetown. Understandably, that was very unsettling. By Thursday, we had driven down to get her.
Terrible times.

Dorothy said...

Mary, I was in a soundproof booth having my hearing tested. The phone rang, and the audiologist sat with this horrible look on her face while she listened to the caller tell her the horrible news. I couldn't imagine what had happened. I soon found out. My husband had an appointment in NYC that day..and he could see the smoke and the WTC fire from his car as he drove on the Garden State Parkway. He turned around and came home. I couldn't call out on my cell phone or landline. Every line was blocked.
It was horrible..not being able to call my husband or my daughter in California. I can't believe it has been six years...

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I was home, folding clothes with the TV on. When they cut away to anounce the first tower hit, I knew in my heart that it was not an accident. A while later the kids' school called saying that the faculty and students were going to the church to pray and that everyone was encouraged to join them. Driving over I noticed that there was no air traffic. By supper time we could see military jets patrolling the air over the Twin Cities. Heart wrenching.

Mary said...

Donna, it's good you brought her home. I told Gina to stay inside and avoid crowded places...

Dorothy, I would have been in a state of panic, as I am sure you were!

Lynne, military aircraft is an unsettling sight. Wow.

Anonymous said...

I was listening it to the radio when they announced it and ran down stairs and turned the TV on! What is so ironic, I just moved into a new house and the cable guy didn't turn off the TV yet. I had tv to watch that whole week. Also, can't remember why but wasn't working that day and was glued to the TV!

Mary said...

Monarch, as much as we hated seeing the death and destruction, our curious and compassionate human nature took over. We all watched and wondered and felt so much sorrow.

Mary said...

I remember as well and am thinking of all innocent people who are suffering all over the world tonight

dmmgmfm said...

Mary, I was in Billings visiting my son at college. We were staying at the KOA campground. When the first plane hit we were taking a morning walk. We walked by the camp store and saw the towers on a small tv screen. We thought it was a movie. No one was in the store so we stood there for awhile watching, wondering what horrible movie was on. About the time the store attendant came back, we realized that it wasn't a movie, it was real.

My exhusband's 17 year old step-son was living with me at the time. His biological father worked in tower one. We rushed home to be with Jesse. It was days before we found out that his dad wasn't working that day and had been spared.

I remember too.

NatureWoman said...

Mary - I was in the bathroom at work when someone who worked for me came in and started crying as she was telling me what happened. We all went to the conference room to watch it happening on TV. Fortunately I didn't lose anyone. But I really feel for those that did.

possumlady said...

Mary, I was on my way to work (late as usual) when I heard on NPR that what was thought to be a small commuter plane crashed into one of the towers, along with describing the smoke and flames. I dismissed it thinking "oh, that can't be right. It was probably a natural gas explosion." My office was 6 blocks from the White House. I get to work and a co-worker came to tell me that two passenger planes were deliberately flown into the towers. Again, I thought she was overreacting. Then, I turned on the radio to hear that the Pentagon had been hit. I was just stunned. My boss was in a closed-door meeting and I knocked on the door, walked in and just said "something really bad is going on" I'll never forget the look on his face. I then looked out the window and I could see the thick black smoke coming from the Pentagon and just pointed to it. We all gathered in our conference room to watch just as the first tower came down. My office was on 16th Street, NW in DC. This is a main artery into and out of the city and by the time we closed our offices around 10:45 the streets were just at a stand still, clogged with cars, buses with the doors open and people crowding and hanging on the steps and crowds of people--some walking fast, some running, all with cell phones glued to their heads. My boss and I just stood outside and watched speechless. He was sweet though. My boss just lives a few minutes from me and asked me if I didn't want to be alone that I was welcome at his home. I said unless he would be able to handle a dog and 4 cats, I would need to stay at home with them. It was a surreal experience.

Mary said...

Mary, the whole world was affected...but I can't imagine the grief of those who lost loved ones. They had a horrible death.

Laurie, it's good that you were with your son...but waiting to hear news for Jesse must have been so hard.

Pam, I think the entire country shut down that day. We all huddled around televisions. I saw adults and high schoolers cry at school.

Possumlady, I was only about 40 minutes away from you - we felt like sitting ducks. But you were there and saw first-hand! I'm so glad your boss offered you company. I would not have left the animal crew, either...

smilnsigh said...

I was ironing a shirt, and E. was watching Financial News. Phone rang and our middle son said; "Put news on, a plane has hit a World Trade Tower." We switched tv channels and watched as another plane approached and crashed into the other tower.

My family is in this town, so I was not immediately missing anyone.

And I began to go into a mode, with which people in 'Pretty Blog Land' are not familiar. It has been called my G.I.Nanci mode. And that's descriptive.

I went to my computer to try to make Net contact with a person, around the globe from me, with whom I emailed every day. Wondering if we would be able to do so, soon...

My G.I.Nanci mode grew... And has not abated to this day. I put a candle in one of our front windows and it burns there, to this day. {electric holiday candle} For all who lost their lives in our country on 9/11. And for all those who had lost their lives in all the past acts by Radical Islam against Civilization. And who would lose life and limb, fighting Radical Islam, in the future.

And I began to read voraciously, to try to find out about this Enemy, which had declared War on us. To do this, is both enlightening and terrifying. But we need to know an Enemy, if we are to fight it.

Here, you do not see the G.I.Nanci side of me, because I choose not to show it. But I assure you, it is a living, breathing, large part of me. Which does live in me, and shows in other Net places and with like minded individuals.


Mary said...

Mari-Nanci, I think we all share a bit of your Gi-Nanci persona. You are entitled. Keep burning your candle. I have burned them in my front windows since then. It is not customary in NC, but I burn them anyway.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I was on the phone with my daughter. She was at work and saw the first plane hit the World Trade Center on the internet. She called me. She told me to go turn on the T.V. I watched as the second plane hit. My daughter and I started to cry together. I am still stunned.
I have done lots of reading since 9/11/01 and still do not understand.
The history of the Human Species is un-understandable to me. I never seem to be able to figure out why humans do not learn to live in peace. Harmony is much nicer than anger and violence.
I do have compassion. Life can be so difficult. While I may never know why Humans hurt each other I will continue to hold hope for them, for us, for me. Someday people will know how to live on planet Earth in peace.
I hold "Heaven on Earth" in my mind. I see beauty when ever and where ever I can. The Human heart is huge. The learning of forgiveness and how to love thy neighbor are difficult lessons. Hundreds of NYC firefighters are suffering today and many familes lost loved ones. They are hurting. My love goes to them as they re-build thier lives.
In love and light,

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
I never watch morning TV but one of my co-workers at the time told me when she got to work. We were working at a business without TV, so listened to coverage on NPR all morning. I ran home for lunch to call my brother and watch the TV coverage. I remember sitting in front of the TV with tears running down my cheeks. It was so unbelievable and memories are still so vivid.

There was a total plant power outage at work this morning around 10 AM. I was pretty freaked out for a few moments standing there in total darkness, but fortunately the lights came back on along with my computer and all was fine.

Susan Gets Native said...

I was 8 months pregnant with Isabelle, and had just gotten out of the shower when Geoff's strained, cracking voice came through the bathroom door.
Jim and Rita were on their way to Washington, DC, but when the news came in, they stopped, got a hotel and turned on the TV.
You know what I remember the most from that day? Other than Isabelle kicking me, I remember going outside in the back yard, and hearing NO PLANES. At all.

Susie said...

Hi Mary,
My husband and I had just landed in San Francisco after flying home from Anchorage, AK. (it was our first AK cruise) We got home and were alerted by a phone call to turn on the TV. We felt so lucky to have made it home, because soon after they grounded all flights.

cat59 said...


Thanks for the somber remembrance. I was at work and my first instinct was to call my husband who was at a meeting in another town--just 1.5 hours away. I had to do some digging to find a way to reach him because I had never called him there before. He and his colleagues had just heard the news, as well. We wondered where his son was during this time. He lived (and still does) in NYC near the World Trade Center. Of course, we couldn't reach him. Later that night we learned he was at work in midtown when it happened.

BirdingMom said...

Alone, at home getting ready for my late day at work, my husband called telling me that her heard something on the radio - turn on the TV.
I stood in my living room three feet from the TV, not moving, not breathing for so many long minutes, then I watched the second plane sink into tower two, and I fell to my knees.
Later, when I got up I looked out my window at the serene setting in my yard, bright sun, blue skies, birds singing and butterflys at my flowers and I remember crying out to God "How can you allow these birds to sing when the world is crumbling?" and in the silence He answered "How can I NOT".

JeanMac said...

I was standing with my Doc listening to the news at the front desk.We both were in shock and disbelief. Couldn't wait to hurry home at 6pm. Wayne had picked Dad up and we all watched CNN in horror.

Unknown said...

My husband and I had just left for vacation. We hadn't taken one in years. We were near Buffalo NY when we heard it on the radio. It was a strange ride seeing all the planes land and not take off for days.

Jayne said...

I was on my way to my parents house after leaving what I though was going to be a yoga class... when I heard about the first plane on the radio. We assumed it was pilot error. Once I got to my parents house, the TV was on and we sat and watched in horror as the second plane hit the other tower. Shocked, stunned disbelief. Then news of the Pentagon. It was as if the entire country was going to under attack at any minute. It was a scary time. I was a wreck... so much so that I called my husband to come home, I took a Valium I had left over from a surgery earlier in the year, and then stayed glued to the TV for days like the rest of the country.

Naturegirl said...

I was talking to my son who was looking at the plane coming toward the second tower on his way to the towers for a meeting.I will never forget that phone call...I am blessed
that I still have my sone to talk to on the phone. I pray for the families
who lost sons daughters and loved ones on that day.
Your image is haunting and beautiful..
peace to you and yours hugs NG

dguzman said...

I was at work, watching everything happen on a little tiny TV set; I wanted to go immediately to my parents' house, 500+ miles away, just to be near them, but I had to work. Needless to say, not much work got done that day, or for a few days after.

Mary said...

Hi All,

We all shared the same reactions and emotions that day. No matter what our plans were for the day or where we were when we heard the dreadful news, we all wound up in the same place - secure in our homes glued to the TV. I am thankful I didn't need to worry over the whereabouts of loved ones like thousands and thousands of friends and families around the world did...

Thanks for sharing your day with me and the rest of us. This event is one we don't want to remember; however, it's too important to forget.

Anonymous said...

I was at work at Peacemaker Ministries when a co-worker came by and asked whether I had heard the news....for the rest of the day, we prayed and watched coverage of the attack. It was difficult to go about business as usual. I contacted my parents and children - you're right, just wanted to let those nearest me know that I loved them.

One of our staff was in Europe, and wouldn't return to the USA for another few days due to the flight restrictions. He was one of the many who could not simply reach out to those closest to him as a husband and father....but he did create a lifelong bond with a man from the Mideast who was also "stranded."

Even amidst the tragedy and suffering, we are blessed, and find new growth and opportunities.


Anonymous said...

I'd just arrived to the office and my boss looked at me gravely and said the towers had been hit. And there was possibly a plane headed for Los Angeles. The internet was impossible to get to, no one had a radio that could receive a signal in our office building, no one had a TV. I remember thinking that a disaster of a scale I'd never known before could be on its way right here.