Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

9/11/2001 began as just another normal day for me. Around the time the first plane flew into the Towers, I was draggin myself out of bed in preparation for another day of class. But first I had a few errands to run.

Showering, dressing, and catching the local Stinger bus - I made my way over to the campus bookstore, to pick a few class supplies. As I stood in the checkout line, I heard the radio overhead mentioning something about a fire at the Pentagon. I remembering thinking, "Great, another government SNAFU!".

After paying for my purchases, I headed across campus to the AMC where I had the duty of guarding the Ramblin Reck during the Annual Career Fair. Within 20 minutes of my arrival, the event was closed and we were all ordered to go home.

Returning to my dorm room I found my roommate Jessica Walden engrossed in a local news station. Her face was ashen and her eyes tear filled when she looked up at me "Have you heard?" she queried, gesturing towards the t.v. At that precise moment in time, CNN was reairing the footage of the second plane flying into the towers. I began to chant "This doesn't happen in America...this doesn't happen in America" as my own tears flowed.

Jessica and I clung to each other and the t.v. as we watched in horror as the day's events were recounted. When the attack on the Pentagon was mentioned, my first thought was "Oh my God, Kevin is interning there....."

Frantically, I began to IM him, waiting anxiously for a reply. I must have sent a dozen or so messages. Around this time both Kim D. and Kristina arrived back at our dorm room.....they were both visible shaken. Kim asked about word from Kevin.

Shortly after lunch, President Clough sent out a mass e-mail. It stated that in one hour the campus would be closed, nobody would get on or off. The four of us quickly decided to seek refuge at Kim's house in Dunwoody. Suddenly, we were fearful of being in downtown Atlanta.

In the mist of our hurried planning and packing, we managed to receive word from Kevin. He stated that he was unharmed but had witnessed the plane's flight towards the Pentagon.

The afternoon and evening saw us all huddled around the more and more accounts of the day's events poured in. When the telephone lines were finally cleared, I managed to reach my Daddy. I remember asking" Daddy, does this mean we are going to war?".
He softly whispered "Yes, baby, I think it does."

I am sure that in my own mind I knew the answer before I posed the question. However, the midst of this national tragedy I felt like a child - not a 19 year old college student - and wanted reassure from my Daddy that it would all be okay.

Late that evening, the four of us returned to Tech, as we had been informed that classes would resume as normal. Normal, ha, did normal exist after something of this magnitude. I thought then that it didn't.

Five years later, I am amazed at how quickly I have returned to "normal". On 9/11, I was sure I'd never fly. Now I fly on almost a monthly basis. In the weeks following 9/11, I regarded all people of Middle Eastern descent with suspicion. Now, I find myself barely registering their ethnic background........

But for all the normalcy of my life, 9/11 changed me. I now end every conversation with my family and close friends with "I love you"......for I never now when they may be taken. I pray each daily for the military - since many of my friends now fight in the war against terror. And no matter how many years may pass, I will never forget 9/11 or how it made me feel.

And thus, I write. To remember that day, those events, those men and women and children who lost their lives. May we live our lives, not in fear, but in tribute to them.


By the Sea said...

It's one of those days I'll never forget. The plane hitting the building. Standing outside with a 9mm pistol and yelling about how I was only 19 and too young to die. Some salty master chief told me to get the f*** back in line and make sure I had a round in the chamber. An Army chaplain came by, praying with each person.

I remember you and Kim helped me get in touch with my family because the phone network in DC was shut down. I was grateful to you then, and still today, for your friendship. God bless. :-)