Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Always Remember

My first "I remember where I was" moment occurred when the Challenger exploded just after take-off. It was January 1986. A nor'easter was blowing into Massachusetts and my school closed early to make sure everyone got home safely. A bunch of us rented some movies and headed to my friend, Joe's house to watch. One movie was Thief of Hearts. I can't remember the other one.

My friend Michele called her father to tell him where she was. I can remember her saying, 'What?!" and to us, "the shuttle exploded! Turn on the TV!"

There are others now. But nine years ago,

I was sitting in my office in Andover and Andy called me when he got into his office in Cambridge. He commented he'd just heard on the radio that someone had just flown into the World Trade Center. We both thought it was some poor idiot in a Cesna. We both thought it was an accident. We hung up and I ambled into my boss, Lee's office and told her. She tried to get onto and couldn't. Then another co-worker ran in to say a second plane had just hit the other tower.

Not an accident. An attack.

We were in a new building and didn't have a TV so all over, small groups of people gathered around small images on computer monitors. Every time someone managed to get some news, it spread as horrible rumors through the office. As we learned about Flight 93, my friend, June got a panicked, crying call from her college-aged son. His dad was flying back from PA today. Had she heard from him? She had not but later learned, thank God, he was not aboard that flight.

Finally, Lee and I left the building to run to a local Best Buy to get a TV. Going home would take too long. It was in Lee's Jeep that we heard that the first tower had fallen. We saw the second tower fall standing among strangers in front of a big-screen TV in Best Buy.

We spent a longer while at work, eventually leaving to watch the horror unfold from the comfort of our own homes. There, I pleaded with Andy to leave the job he had just started a few weeks before. He worked in Kendall Square, where MIT is located. I was sure if there were more attacks "they" would target the academic centers soon.

He didn't leave until 5:00 and was home in record time. No one was on the roads. He found me in front of the TV exactly where I had landed when I arrived home hours before. We watched more. We headed to his mom's to wish her a happy birthday - yeah, 9/11 bummer. More TV, bed, God-Bless-America-sex, sleep.

In the morning, we woke up back to the bad dream that was our new reality.


Anonymous said...

Teaching school that morning, we had parents coming in with news of explosions in NY and that the White House was burning! The horror turned out to be true about NY and the other burning building was the Pentagon. My co-worker's husband had flown out of Boston that morning on business, thank God he had a safe flight! Sheer panic and disbelief was the undercurrent but the staff all were extra loving and supportive for the children at school. I called my husband (also in Tech Square, Cambridge working for defense) to ask what happened. He had the news on but they were told to cut off all cell conversations because those airways were needed for this emergency situation.

That day, I held my children play as we knew it had changed...and I too will never forget!

Dawn said...

It was my best friends 40th birthday, we met for lunch and cried the whole time thinking of those poor people and their families. It seemed so distant from Arizona, but we were scared their would be an attack on the nuclear power plant on the edge of Phoenix.

I still cry whenever I watch anything on TV that reminds me of the day, and I'm not a weepy kind of girl.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

My mom called and told me and, like you, I figured it was some wayward pilot in a small plane...then I heard about the second plane. Shortly after that someone came through the halls and told about the Pentagon and said, "Come to Susan's office--you can see it." I went and was shocked that she didn't mean on TV...she meant you could actually see the Pentagon burning. (Driving home there were reports--incorrect but we didn't know that at the time--about car bombs going off all over DC...adding to our already scared selves.)

Donnie was on a business trip and didn't get home for five days. When I drove to work the next day I almost cried seeing armed soldiers at corners in downtown DC.

Hard to believe it's been 9 years when it also feels like yesterday.


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