I was at work when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. I was at a coworker’s desk, she was training me on a new aspect of my job. Her phone rang, it was her husband. He told her a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. He saw it on the news.
After she hung up and we asked each other what that was all about, I went back to my desk to call my mom.
“Mom? Are you watching the news? What’s going on?”
“I am. A plane just hit the World Trade Center. Dad says it’s terrorist.”
A few moments later, my mom shrieked.
“Oh my God! Another one! Another one just hit the other tower!”
“What? Mom? What?”
“Another plane! Another plane just hit the World Trade Center!”
I got off the phone with my mom, and I paged our office, and said, “Guys? I think we’re under attack.”
By this time, word had traveled through the office because of my coworker’s husband’s phone call. The girl sitting next to me was frantically trying to load CNN’s website, but it was overloaded. My boss had a little portable television that he plugged in, and faced away from the rest of the office so he could learn what was happening, but we couldn’t.
We tried other sites, picking up bits and pieces of information. Some called family members for more updates, myself included.
Eventually we learned that the Pentagon had been hit, the Towers collapsed, and another plane went down in PA.
I went to lunch with two girls in my office that day. They both were angry that management had not sent us home. I remember thinking, why? Why go home? There’s nothing we can do. I figured they wanted to go home and pray and be with their families. They were religious and that made sense, I guess.
We sat in my truck, the three of us, and we all leaned forward at the same time and looked out the windshield.
“It’s so blue.”
“I can’t believe it.”
“Why aren’t there any planes?”
Of course, by that time, they had grounded all flights. We didn’t know. We finished our hour lunch and went back in.
Business as usual.
I got home that day and immediately turned on the television. I was glued for most of the evening. I think it was CNN, I can’t remember. I can remember seeing a man falling out of the tower. Over and over and over. They just ketp replaying it. I was horrified.
Eventually, I had had enough news, and I got in my truck and went into town. I went to the craft store. I bought red, white and blue ribbons. I made little ribbons for everyone at my work to pin to their shirts. I bought a big red white and blue bow, and fastened it to the grill of my truck.
I didn’t collect any money for the ribbons, nothing for donations. I guess that was stupid. I could have done that. I just made my stupid little ribbons in red, white and blue and pinned one to my shirt and felt sad. And weird. Sad and weird and sad.
I watched a lot of news after that. I watched up until we finally bombed. I think that was in November. I remember feeling so good that we were finally doing something, but wondered why it took so long.
And now. It has been ten years. TEN WHOLE YEARS. And we are still over there and so many more of our people have died and it still isn’t over.
We are still over there, and people are still dead, and we are still rebuilding.
But, I guess, at least we are rebuilding.