I had the day off today. My original plan was to sleep in, quietly relax and sip a cup of warm decaf coffee, eventually make it to the shower, to my errands, and then meet up with friends for dinner. However, plans changed. I awoke at 6am (not so much a sleep in for most, but still an extra 1 ½ hours for me). I looked out the window and saw that it was raining (grrrrr, so much for my straight hair on a day when I had time to blow dry it). I decided to go to 6:30 spin, and then came home and turned on the TV. I was so excited to watch my morning talk shows, GMA, Live With Regis and Kelly, and Rachel Ray; nevertheless, I turned on the TV and quickly remembered that today is 9/11.
Needless to say, I have been sitting here on my sofa for the last hour crying. No, not because I am missing my shows, but because I have been overcome with emotion on the anniversary.
I cannot believe that it has been six years. I still remember sitting in my 11th grade English class with Mrs. B rolling my eyes at having to write another 10 page paper (we were only in the 2nd week of school), when all teachers were called out into the hall and the class grew silent. There was an eerie silence that echoed throughout the usually bustling corridors of our suburban high school. The teachers soon returned to the classrooms and asked us to listen for an announcement over the PA system. The familiar voice of our principal came over the loud speaker:
“I would just like to take a moment to relay some important information regarding the events that have transpired over the last 30 minutes. It appears that the Twin Towers in New York have been struck by commercial airplanes that were headed for California, out of Boston.. The reason for these accidents is still not known, but an investigation is currently underway. We have also been informed that another plane crashed into the Pentagon. We ask any students who feel that they may have been directly affected by this mornings events to please come down to the guidance office and feel free to make any necessary phone calls. Additionally, the entire guidance and administrative staff is in the office if you need to speak with us. We will continue to update you, as more information becomes available. Teachers- please excuse any students who feel they need to see the guidance office. Additionally, we ask that the student body remain calm. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”
And the class sat in silence.
I immediately looked over at my friend Caroline, whose face was white as a ghost, and who was in the process of standing up to leave. Her dad, a cost guard reservist, was on temporary assignment in the Pentagon.
Then my mind shot to my family’s good friend who works for Delta Airlines, who was working this day, and who was based out of Boston.
Instead of running to guidance, I whipped out my phone and texted my mom. However, she said that she still hasn’t heard anything, but that Mrs. T’s husband thought she was on an southern flight, not a west coast bound flight.
The remainder of the school day was a blur. Teachers could not capture our attention, students wanted to be anywhere but class (i.e computer lab, media room, design lab, etc).
I only remember a few students actually leaving school that day, but the stories continued to roll in over the next few weeks.
Turns out C’s dad was okay. He was working offsite that morning. Mrs. T was also okay, she had been headed on a fight to Dallas. Later in the week, I heard that a boy in my sister’s class had a really close call. His dad, an American Airlines Pilot, was scheduled to be flying the plane that hit one of the towers; however, due to flight delays and bad weather, he had already accrued too many flight hours and was grounded; another pilot took the flight for him.
So many people were glued to the television in the hours, days, and weeks that followed the attacks on 9/11. I remember thinking how tragic the event was, but I don’t think that I ever took it all in and processed the magnitude of the event.
Flash forward six years. I am now here in New York, and making up for lost time. The memorial service is on every TV channel, all flags are flying at half staff, that eerie silence is hanging over the city, and of course- it’s raining.
Maybe the rain is symbolic…a way for all those who lost their lives to come back down to earth and reunite with those they left behind.