I Will Never Forget

But I will carry on with life.

Today, we enjoyed the EMU band as they serenaded our neighborhood as an act of community appreciation.  Ali hopped on her bike and we second-lined it all the way down the street and around the block.  So fun! 

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As I do every year, I am going to repost this article that I wrote in 2006. 

9/11/2001

On the morning of 9/11/01, I awoke in my normal fashion. I was in my last semester of college, and Senior-itis had set in particularly bad. I had other things on my mind, like planning a wedding. I had a pretty good routine, honed down to only the most important steps. Every morning I would wake up and hit the snooze button on the alarm two or three times before actually venturing out of the bed. This bad habit inevitably left me rushing to get out the door in time to make class.

The class that I had on Tuesdays and Thursdays was a Public Speaking Class. It wasn’t your typical speech class, either. It was a very small class and the President of the University was the instructor. Because of this, we were able to meet in his office suite. I will never forget walking up the staircase to his office that day. I turned the corner in his office and his secretary motioned me into a different room than we normally used for class.

In this room, we had a television with a cable hook-up. I remember sitting in the floor with some of my other classmates, the President of the university, his staff, and various other people from the building. Aaron Brownwas on CNN desperately trying to keep everyone up to speed with what little information he had been given.

There had been a commercial airplane crash into the side of one of the World Trade Center Towers.

All aspects of the story were sketchy at this point. There were also (what turned out to be false) reports of fires sweeping the Mall in D.C.

I had arrived just in time to see the second attack on the World Trade Center. I will never forget screaming when I saw that image on the screen.  We all realized that we were watching live television, and it was terrifying. I remember the silence in the room being overwhelming. The television was the only sound.

The reporter tried with all of his might to keep his composure while we just sat in silence, punctuated by occasional sniffles and sobs, trying to grasp the seriousness of what we were witnessing. Then we learned about he attack on the Pentagon, as well.

At this University, we always had Chapel on Tuesdays. This met directly after my first class. As we all assembled, there was a somber feeling among everyone in the auditorium. Fortunately, the powers-that-be decided that no one was in a a state of mind to endure a full chapel service–we basically prayed and got out of there. I found Dr. D first, then I found a TV.

For hours, no, days, I remember being glued to TV. Most of the other classes for the day were canceled, so I had plenty of time to watch. I watched as many channels as I possibly could.

When reports of gas shortages came on, I rushed to the gas station and waited to fill my tank. I ran to the grocery store and got the staples.

Like many people, I was just doing the things that I thought I should do. In reality, there was no need to do these things, it was just all that we knew to do.

Like many Americans, I was so steeped in the news coverage that I didn’t sleep well for weeks. We didn’t know what was going to come next. None of us had ever been through something like this, therefore we didn’t have any idea how to cope. I remember a few times waking up in the night, shaking, because I was so scared. I dreamed of the news coverage that I saw. I had seen the images of the towers fall over and over again on television, and now in my sleep.

I finally had to turn off the television. To this day, I am still not ready to watch much coverage about 9/11. The movies that have come out are far to real for me to watch. Even re-broadcasts of things that I have previously seen are too much for me. Perhaps the worst thing, however, is the 911 tapes that have been released. I just can’t listen to these tapes without getting a real sense of fear all over again.

For the days, weeks, months, and now years afterwards people have been telling the American Public that we should just go on with our lives and not let “the terrorists” get to us. That seems to be what we should do. I want to do that. But how do you do it? How do you put aside every fear in your mind and go on with life? Just this morning, I was watching Rudy Giuliani being interviewed on “Today” by Ann Curry. He made no attempt to gloss over his opinion that there will be another terroristic attack on American Soil. With comments like this, how do you ignore “the threat” and go on? When is it safe, and when is it not? I am just not sure that we will ever know for sure.

Actually, I’m not sure if we ever knew.

Edited to add:  I originally wrote this in 2006, 5 years after the 9/11 attacks.  I am still not ready to view/hear much footage of 9/11.

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