Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Remember...

I remember being 18 years old, fresh out of high school, and working as a waitress to make ends meet while I was in school. I remember waking up that morning to the DJs on the radio announcing that a second plane had hit the second tower of the World Trade Center. I remember laying there in disbelief before hoping up to turn on the TV. I remember the image I saw and the immediate fear, shock, and uncertainty I felt. I remember calling my mom not knowing what in the world was going on but needed to talk with someone, anyone. I remember the announcement that a plane had hit the Pentagon, and feeling sick to my stomach. I remember rushing to get ready for work, not wanting to miss anything going on.

I remember calling my dad, who worked in downtown Atlanta at the time, wondering if he was going to be coming home. (I DON'T remember his answer) I remember driving to work with my radio on not wanting to miss any news. I remember walking into work and seeing all my coworkers sitting at the bar, glued to the TV. I remember sitting down just in time to see the South Tower crumble. I remember the gasp, and then utter silence in the restaurant. I remember fear, and shock, followed by tears. I remember hearing the news report that a hijacked plane had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. I remember hearing that the passengers decided that enough was enough and fought back. I remember silently thanking them for their sacrifice, and praying for peace for their families. I remember sitting there watching the news unfold as the North Tower fell.

I remember my boss telling me that even though all of this was going on, we needed to get the restaurant ready to open. I remember the 4 customers we had in a 4 hour shift, and I remember not caring that I hadn't made any money that day.

I remember the days that followed, hearing of the death and missing counts. Watching people on TV begging for help finding family members. I remember heartache. Lots and lots of heartache and feeling helpless as there was nothing I could do.

I remember a few weeks later, the fire department near my house had firemen standing outside their station with boots, collecting money to send to the firehouses in New York. I remember the line of cars and the traffic it caused as people dug through their purses and wallets to give something, anything they could.

I remember President Bush standing up and telling us that as Americans, we needed to band together, and get the son of a gun that planned all this. I remember him saying that we had to keep going. We could not let this break us and we could not fall apart. That if we did, the terrorists would win. I remember the amazing patriotism that followed as party lines were blurred and everyone banded together. We were no longer Republicans and Democrats. We were Americans, and we were not going to let this happen to our country. I remember being so proud to be an American.

I remember the Christmas that followed, my parents decided to take a different route to so we could drive through Washington, DC. I remember driving down the interstate and my dad saying "Look guys. See that crane? That's the Pentagon." I remember how much more real all of it suddenly felt.

I remember this past January, Travis and I had an opportunity to visit the memorial in New York. I remember seeing the hole that is in the NY skyline where the towers used to be. I remember the chatter of everyone in line as we made our way through security check points to get into the memorial. I remember how everyone immediately stopped talking the second they walked in. I remember the quiet. I remember the spiritual heaviness that was here, the unrest and the pain that was still in this place. I remember looking at the two pools still unable to grasp that these had once been towering buildings. I remember not being able to speak for fear of bursting into tears the entire time we were there.

Eleven years ago today, the World Trade Center was gone in an instant. The Pentagon was damaged, and a plane crashed in Pennsylvania. Thousands of people lost their lives, and thousands more gave their lives trying to help. As I reflect on this day, I am forever grateful to President Bush, his staff, the firemen, the policemen, the paramedics, the passengers on Flight 93, the volunteers, and the soldiers, continuing to fight, who did their best to keep our country safe and protect my freedom.

May we never forget. I know I never will
One of the pools at the 9/11 Memorial

No comments: