I'd like to add my memories of that day to the ever-growing collection...
Sep 11, 2001
I remember that day as though it were yesterday. I suppose 9/11 is to our generation what Kennedy's assassination was to my parents': "Where were you on that day?" is a question everyone can answer with great detail. I was at home, in Illinois. Justin was 2 1/2, my niece was 1 1/2 and I was 2 months pregnant. My sister dropped my niece off at my house so that she could drive into Chicago for a taste-testing for McDonald's. My husband was going to go into work late as he was also going to the same taste testing. So, I had 2 little kids with me and we were playing and had kiddie videos on in the background. Naturally, I didn't hear or see the bombings until Patrick called me on the cell from the backed up traffic trying to get to Chicago. He and my sister were both stuck in different spots. I don't know if the traffic was from the bombing scares or simply good ole' Chicago traffic. Nonetheless, when I flipped on the tv and began to watch it, I realized that I did NOT want them that close to a major city and was frantic to get them home.
My brother-in-law came over to pick niece, S. , up. I vividly remember him sitting on the couch with me and repeating the phrase "That's it. It's the beginning of WW3. That's it. We are at WAR." I wanted to slap him so badly. All I could think of was all of the moms. Moms in the buildings, wives of men in the buildings, Mothers of grown men and women that would grieve upon hearing this news... And when we learned about the airplane hitting the Pentagon? Well. I put the kids down for naps and cried and cried. I clutched my stomach, wondering what the future would hold for my second child. I wrote in my son's journal some of the following passages:
"The news is terrifying and the pictures look as though they're from a foreign country..."
"The entire country is closed."
"I pray that we do not declare war but I can't see how the government won't retaliate. I am dumbfounded! This is unreal."
"I see on the news that there are parties in the middle East... What must the parents of those who've just died feel?"
"I pray that we will survive as a nation."
I remember the all-encompassing fear and grief. I remember trying to picture being close to someone or to MANY people that died that day-I still can't imagine it. It truly was a day of unspeakable horrors. And the day just kept getting worse and worse as the death total grew and the rumors of all of the other planes that were hijacked grew and grew. I remember being petrified as we lived so close to Chicago and a small airport. It was eerily silent that day. No private jets flew. No buzzing of the smaller private planes.
I also remember the first time I saw an airplane fly again after the bans were lifted. THAT was odd. It felt as though we were vulnerable again, in a new way.
I remember the lines at the gas station, paying twice what the gas was the day before, as people were freaked out about the possibility of a gas shortage.
I remember the multitude of American flags that were displayed EVERYWHERE that year. Cars, windows, houses, lawns, shirts... they were everywhere. It was a bittersweet pride that we as a nation could still support our countrymen in that small way.
I remember all of the mixed feelings I had. Could I be joyful to be pregnant when the nation and world was upside down? Could I risk being as horribly sad and overwrought as I was without hurting my unborn son? Would the world change and become one of police actions and bombings in our midst?
Some of the things I remember sound silly now. Did I REALLY think that the United States would be overcome by terrorists? Well. Actually, yes. I was really AFRAID that terrorists would TRY to overcome us, and bring war to my front door. I was scared of a lot of things. I think all of us were. They may have dimmed and become one flowing memory for some, but I know I had/have some strong fears. Mainly as how the world will be for my sons (and daughter, now).
I remember the parade of firemen and policemen that our small farming town held that next year. Silent. Sad. Short (SMALL town). I remember explaining to my son and daycare child what we were doing, standing in our driveway, watching the 3 firetrucks and 2 policecars driving slowly in front of our house.
I remember explaining to Evan, not a few months ago, why the "bad people" blew those buildings up. I still don't know what prompted the discussion, but he was determined that I, as an adult, HAD to know the reason. Cuz I'm an ADULT. If only that were true...
So, documented for any who wish to know another rambling memory of 9/11, there you have it.
I still pray for all of the families, children, spouses, friends, government workers, peace keepers and bystanders who were hurt or killed that day. I pray that nothing like this happens again. That our families will be safe. That people will leave each other alone!! What has ever been solved by violence? What is the outcome of violence? Each and every time, the answer is: MORE violence. MORE anger. MORE unjustness. MORE grief.
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