Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you when the planes hit the towers?

Everyone has a story of where they were when something tragic happens in society. Like Pearl Harbor, JFK being shot, annoucement that Elvis or Diana died, etc. etc.

Here is my 9-11 story:
I was at work in the computer services center at US Steel. A dark, practically windowless old building with a low hum everywhere from the computers throughout. It was pretty large and walking from one department to the other could take a few minutes. One thing I will also note it lacked was televisions. We are talking old school here.

Anyway, I was upstairs dropping something off in another department when the secretary asked me if I heard that a plane hit the WTC. Of course I hadn't. We also didn't have radio reception in our buildling so we were confined to listening to CDs with headphones in our cubes. Apparently, her sister had called her to tell her. She told me it was a 2-person personal aircraft.

I was on my way back to my department when I passed someone I knew who said a second aircraft had hit the building. I knew that didn't sound right. I immediately headed for the only TV in the building that I knew of - some 1960s small tv in our conference room. I turned it on and watched the footage from then on. The word started spreading and the conference room quickly filled up. We all watched in amazement, horror and silence. When word went out that another plane went down near PIttsburgh (where we were) the phone lines went down. No one could call out anymore.

Eventually, I managed to get a call out to my mom from a landline to tell her it was not anywhere near us. She was just crying. She was heading to the dentist that day and never made it. She remained glued to the TV.

When the towers fell I muttered to my friend next to me that the skyline of New York will never be the same. He looked at me in disgust and horror and said that was all I could think about right then. I was taken aback. I didn't mean to be insensitive, I just think I didn't know what to think or say. That was the only truth I knew at that moment. So I said it.

I didn't shed a tear until I got into my car and drove home. The radio played that "Hero" song and I just started weeping. I cried all the way home. I walked into my house and right into the arms of my husband. I just wept. I don't know if I was scared, sad, shaken or what. I just felt sad. Very very sad. I also felt violated. Not personally, but as a country we were violated. I guess it would be the same feeling as if someone broke into your house. Stunned, shocked, and forever after unsure.

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