Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

     September 11 or 9/11. It is strange how the date of a tragedy of such monumental proportion rolls so easily off the tongue, like Mary, Joe, or John.     
     On today, September 11, the question on everyone’s mind seems to be, “Where were you on 9/11?” I’ll ask it too. Do you remember where you were when the first plane hit the tower in New York City? There are very few dates that stick in my mind, but this one is as vivid as though it were yesterday.
     I was driving to my daughter’s apartment. I had the radio on which was quite unusual for me. I have a habit of enjoying the quiet or popping in a CD to listen to, but that morning I had the radio on. I was traveling on Highway 308 bypassing the little town of Lockport, Louisiana on my way north when the music stopped anda frantic radio announcer interrupted stating that an airplane had just flown into one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. He went on to tell anyone listening that the tower was on fire and madness and chaos were beginning to form in the streets outside of the burning tower. At that time, little did anyone know the confusion that was about to rip our country apart, and change the way we live.
     By the time I reached my daughter’s apartment, the second World Trade Center Tower had been hit and by the time I left to return home, the first building had collapsed and the entire city along with our country was languishing.
     My day started out sunny and clear with the hope of renewing a relationship with my daughter. The only thoughts on my mind were how excited I was that she finally called me and needed my help. I was thinking of new beginnings. I walked into my daughter’s apartment and looked at her in bewilderment and all I could think to ask her was, “Is it true?” Her television was on and as I sank into the sofa cushions, my eyes transfixed to the scene playing out in front of me, my mind seemed to shut down. The film clip of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers was playing repeatedly before my eyes. I felt incapable of forming words or thoughts for several long minutes. Like everyone else in our country, I was momentarily paralyzed thinking the picture before me was not true, it was not happening. We are a civilized country, this happens elsewhere.
     How quickly our world can turn upside down, as we saw on that day. I have cousins and an aunt in New York City and my thoughts turned to them. There are three of my cousins whom I have never had the opportunity to meet and knew little about. I did not even know whom to call to begin finding out where they worked and how close to the Towers they might or might not be. I thought, where, in all of the pandemonium, is my family?
     We all remember 9/11 and the reining chaos it inflicted, and if, by chance, we were to forget, the news media is sure to remind us. I do not need reminding. I remember the day as if it was yesterday, do you?

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