Where were you, early this morning, eleven years ago? Me? I was sitting in my truck, outside the office, some 15min before my shift started, listening to the radio. The usual news broadcast came on, and I remember the announcer saying something about a plane hitting some big building in New York City.
I remember thinking about the time a B25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the Empire State building back in 1945...and assuming some poor soul had inadvertently flown a light aircraft into some skyscraper. Little did I know, at 07:45, 09/11/01...
My job was frustrating, annoying, and honestly I hated it. I was 6mo pregnant with our first child, and although I loved the folks I worked with, having worked with them for most of 13yrs under a different employer, I hated the new job. I was sticking it out, for the healthcare coverage, until the baby arrived. So, going inside to start work was drudgery...
There was some smalltalk floating around the cube floor, apparently others had heard something about the plane crash too... We settled in, and I flipped on a small radio. Soon it became apparent that 'something' was up--that maybe it was not an accidental crash--that it was a big jet, not some little Cessna--and then word came that a second plane had hit the other building.
Only a few folks had limited 'net access back then in the office, and the radios were so full of misinformation early on. The only TV in the break room couldn't get a picture, as the cable didn't work. We were tantalizingly, horrifyingly in the dark news-wise. Then the towers fell. I had heard a report that up to 30,000 people could have been in each tower on any given day. I knew it was going to be bad...and then we heard about the Pentagon. And then Flight 93...we wondered how many more planes...how many more souls would be lost that bleak day?
I went out to the parking lot for lunch, after the FAA had grounded ALL commercial aircraft. The sky was eerie in its emptiness. As I looked up, I saw one lone contrail, flying over Lawrence, KS, going due north, well off the usual commercial flight paths. I realized later that it was Air Force One, after I heard that Pres. Bush had been flown to Offutt AFB, SAC HQ, in Omaha, which coincidentally lies almost due north of Lawrence.
In those days following 9-11, I found the images, and news reports compelling. Dave didn't want me to see them--he was worried I would be too distressed by some images, such as those who chose to jump. I wanted to help--but at 6mo pregnant, there was nothing I could do but pray, and I was only newly come to faith, and lacked the confidence in prayer that I enjoy now.
I still find the images compelling--not in a voyeuristic way--but as possibly the most significant news event of my life. Much as my parents generation recalls Pearl Harbor, I recall 9/11. There was a tribute video done in the days following, done by a New Yorker. It uses a song by a singer, Enya. To this day, I cannot hear that song without that video playing in my mind.
I saw in the news today how in Egypt and Libya, our embassies were besieged and damaged--flags torn down and burned, crowds chanting. It brought to mind, seeing Palestinians dancing and chanting with evil joy on 9/11/01, when they learned of the attacks on America. I remember too, the crowds chanting and attacking another US embassy, many years ago, in Tehran/Teheran, when the now-Iranian President was a young well educated radical, taking our personnel there hostage. I remember watching the news with trepidation, this past year of the so-called Arab Spring...and it occurred to me tonight between what our government is doing now, and what another government that should've known better too, achieved, when in 1938 they proclaimed "Peace in our time!" Appeasement doesn't work...when will we ever LEARN?
Perhaps more importantly, from whence will come our Churchill?