We each have our story of September 11th, 2011 and today, I share my story of 9/11:
I was on my way into work and was listening to a NYC based radio station when the first plane hit. The radio personalities were discussing how a small plane could hit one of the Trade Center Towers. I am sure we were all thinking the same thing: the pilot must have had a heart attack or maybe fell asleep?
I went to my office, dropped off my laptop and went into my colleague’s office to ask if he heard what happened as he often his computer playing an online talk show. As he went to answer, the announcer yelled out ‘Another plane hit the other tower folks – this is no accident. We are under attack!’.
We looked at each other in disbelief and decided to head down the corporate gym as there were TVs down there. There were hundreds of employees standing there staring at the televisions in silence with distressed faces.
Then the 1st tower collapsed. Some screamed, some began crying out loud while others stood silent as if frozen with fear. As i recall this moment the image of the tower falling seemed to take minutes, not seconds.
Everyone in the room then simutaneously formed large circles, joined hands and began to pray. We were all in shock and knew many had died, many more would and that our lives were forever changed.
Some of us proceeded back to our offices unsure of what to do next. Many began trying to call loved ones. The phone lines were jammed.
I tried calling my fiance and mom when it was announced that the bridge would be closing but could not reach them. You see, where I worked was very close to a nuclear submarine facility and no one knew what attacks were coming next.
I decided to leave work so that I could get over the bridge and back to my fiance’s house in Massachusetts. As I was driving, the radio announced one horror after the other: The Pentagon attacked and the crash in Pennsylvania. I found it difficult to drive: I could not stop shaking and crying.
I arrived at my fiances’ house and found he had driven home from Providence. The company had sent him home as their offices resided in the tallest building in the downtown and housed the banks offices. We held each other for what seemed like hours.
I soon remembered that I had my final wedding dress fitting that day and knew I had to reschedule. I was able to reach the dress shop and was told that today’s appointment was my only opportunity to have the dress ready for my wedding three weeks later. I was torn. I asked my fiance what to do and he said ‘Our lives have to go on. Go to the fitting.’
He drove me there and as I stood in my dress, I only felt numb and the tears quietly rolling down my cheeks. There was no joy at that moment.
We stayed up the entire night and home for the next day, staring the television.
I am grateful for my family and the joy they bring me every day. We still mourn for the lives lost, the families of the victims and feel thankful for those who continue to defend this country and our freedom every day.