Last year, I had a really hard time writing anything about 9/11. This year for some reason I feel compelled to write about where I was. While memory of that day is very fresh in my mind and I don’t like to think about it, it does seem so long ago now. People always talk about days where you will never forget where you were, and I’ve had other moments like that in my life (like when the Challenger exploded) but this one gives me such a sickening feeling of dread. While the Challenger explosion was sad, and I’ll never forget my 4th grade teacher Mr. B, crying, it didn’t feel like life was forever changed afterwards.
I don’t have a powerful story about the morning of 9/11, just an ordinary one. I was on my way to work, when I heard what had happened on the radio. I don’t watch TV in the morning, so that was the first I’d heard. I remember the road I was on, and how blue the Colorado sky was, and I thought that it couldn’t be real.
I was working at a health department, and a few people who had radios in their cubicles turned them up so we could hear. When the plane hit the Pentagon, I just sat alone at my desk and cried. I thought about the people we knew who worked there. I wanted to talk to my husband so badly, but he was on the other side of the country, in a training environment where I knew I wouldn’t hear from him for several weeks.
They sent us home from work that day, closing the health department in case there was a risk of someone targeting other goverment buildings. Paranoia seemed to reign, for the rest of the day I sat on the couch wrapped in a blanket and watched the footage, fielding phone calls from worried family and friends. I remember hearing that they shut Ft. Carson down and that soldiers stood guard on the perimeter. We didn’t live on post then, so I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it made me proud, and it made me feel just a little bit safer. I remember clearly people asking me if we were going to war and what that would mean for us… as if somehow being a military spouse made me clairvoyant.
I’m glad I didn’t get a glimpse into the future that day. I think it would have made me sad. What happened then still impacts the life of my family and many others like mine…. and then there are the families of those that lost their lives that day and the families of those who gave their life in the war on terror. Somehow, I get the feeling that the average person would just rather forget. So today I will remember.