Monday, September 10, 2007

Six Years...just yesterday

Tomorrow marks the sixth year of the 9/11 attack. Hard to believe that it was that long ago. That day started just as any other day in my very routing life. Kendra was working at Kelle-Harvel Elementary, and I was getting ready to leave. As was my custom I watched the Today show from my bathroom mirror. I could get ready and watch everything in reverse, even while showering. There were times that I would get sucked in and be late to the office, but I was usually on task. 9/11/01 would be a totally different story though.

I can remember hearing Katie bringing the latest breaking news of a building that had crashed into the World Trade Center--shocking. Then she and Matt went on to talk about how a plane had flown into the Empire State building in 1945, so while not unheard of it was still an unusual event. That is when the camera went to the live video and showed the tower smoldering and puking out it's black smoke. I will for as long as I live never forget what I saw Matt Lauer was talking I saw a black dot rise from the bottom right of my TV and slowly crawl up until WHAM! the second plane crashed into the second tower. "Oh my God...another plane has hit the World Trade Center...this is not an accident." Matt and Katie were exactly right it wasn't an accident and I wasn't moving from my spot.

I couldn't move...I was frozen as I watched the TV and yet I was reliving what I had just witnessed--the crash. I couldn't believe what I had seen and couldn't believe that there could be such a blatant attack on our soil. I remember the cold wave of sorrow and fear rush over my body and knowing that life as I had known it one minute ago would never again be. I was in the middle of the making of an historical event. What was I doing? Just standing there frozen in my bedroom. The news feed of course went straight to full on 24/7 coverage and they brought in Tom Browkaw to handle the heavy hitting news since the morning folks couldn't handle such a big story. I wanted Matt and Katie to be with me and comfort my Psyche, but Tom would do.

I called Kendra, and my family to make sure they were aware and as tuned into this story as I was and of course, they were. Then I did what I always do when such an event occurs...I called Mildred. There was no one else alive who could hang with me through rambling conversations and anecdotal comments. My sweet wife is not a phone chatter and couldn't talk since she was at school. We would have been planted on the couch in our PJ's watching this unfold had it been any other day. As the government flexed it's muscle in an effort to abate any further attack, shutting down US airspace for the first time in aviation history, etc. and the news reports continue with covering this disaster. Then, almost one hour later..."we've just received word that a plane has struck the Pentagon...another plane has struck our nation--we are under attack." Our Nation was under attack and I was beginning to panic. I can remember real fear coming over me. Would I see tanks on my street? Would I see armed military guards marching into my neighborhood? What in the sam hill would I use to defend myself in the event of a house by house invasion? I didn't own a gun? I didn't have stores of supplies built up to the point that I could survive on my own--I am totally dependant upon the food industry to supply my needs. I could break down all of the wood furniture in my house and burn it..did I own matches? I was really starting to get keyed up. Mildred assured me that I was being totally ridiculous and should just calm down, she was right.

After the plane in Shanksville crashed and the news assured me that the skies were safe I felt that at least the worst of the attacks were over and that now it would just be the horrible and awful task of living through this nightmare. Buildings around the Trade Centers were collapsing now (both towers ha already come down) and they were talking about the firefighters that were in the buildings doing search and rescue and all of the people who were lost. I just could not get in touch with the absolute desolate fear that the folks in New York must have been feeling. I could not come into contact with how I was feeling let alone how they were feeling. It wasn't in my backyard, but hundreds of miles away and yet I just could not come to grips with it.

I can still find myself riffling through all of the images in an effort to somehow wrap my brain around it and yet just can't seem to come to grips with it at all. It was an unbelievable day, actually the rest of the month was unbelievable as I saturated myself with the stories and listened to the stories of the survivors who lived through these horrid days. Teensy and the boys are all post 9/11 babies and will only know about this in the history books. What events of their life will mark them forever? What events will they look back upon and recall in real time as if it were actually unfolding. It's wishful thinking to hope that nothing like "this" will ever happen again, it will. Kendra and I just hope and pray that our sweet cherubs aren't involved in any other capacity other than spectator.