Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2001

So many times, I have listened to my mom talk about where she was when President Kennedy was assassinated or when Elvis died. or when the Vietnam war started and ended. History that forever changed her world.

As a young child, I experienced the Challenger explode in space. There we were -6th graders - watching the shuttle take off into space on live TV in the classroom. Space exploration, and especially one launching the first ever teacher, into space was big news and a great educational opportunity. We all sat there with our lives forever changed about space exploration as that shuttle exploded into pieces. You could hear a pin drop. Teachers ran out of and into rooms, there were tears shed and children in awe of an American tragedy. I didn't quite grasp the concept of emotion shed then but the incident forever changed how I felt about the "coolness" of space exploration. NOTE: These are emotions I felt as a child. I was scared to think about space and what existed beyond our Earth. I was frightened to get on an airplane for years.

As an adult, September 11, 2001, forever will touch my heart. A young mother, just taking her eldest to preschool for her first full week (Labor Day week was a short 1 day class). As I was getting her hair into pigtails, my cell phone rang. My husband Lance was on the other end. He was driving semi (not sure to where, minor details didn't stick with me) and had heard other drivers talking over the CB radio about an airplane striking the World Trade Center. "Turn on the news, a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center". I turned on the TV to watch the destruction and immediately felt a slight wave of emotion come over me. Those poor people. At this point, I had no reason but to think it was all just an accident. I watched as the camera noticed another plane strike the second tower. I saw people jumping from the top floors to their death. Immediate tears and frightening, I couldn't understand how one plane had accidentally crashed but now two? What in world is going on, I remember that thought so clearly.

I grabbed Hannah, her backpack and Gracie's little toddler hand and hurried them into their carseats to get going for school. The radios were all news coverage of the World Trade Center. As I pulled up in front of the preschool, I looked at Hannah, walked her in and gave her a huge hug. Something in me told me to hug her hard that day. Gracie and I headed to Target...I over heard talk of a secure air space and that all planes were told to land immediately and at the current time no planes should be in the air. I looked up traveling down US150 and there was a plane. I screamed, I remember it so vividly. I was afraid and wanted to run back home. I heard the newsman say that a plane was on radar headed for the Pentagon and one appeared to be headed to Washington DC. I remember tears, I remember thinking that life as we knew it was about to end. I remember holding my baby girl in my arms minutes earlier and wondering if I was going to be there for her again. Serious thoughts that I think probably crossed many people's mind that day. Seven years later, I still get teared up thinking about 9-11. I thank God for the firefighters and police officers and loving citizens of this great country who gave their lives that day to save others and protect this country. To those passengers who fought the terrorists and won, but ultimately lost, you are my heroes. To the dispatchers who fought so hard to get help to a place in such turmoil. To the police officers and firefighters who saved others, who tried but couldn't get them saved and to those who gave their lives, thank you. To the people of this country that to this day, still stand together tall and proud, hands entwined and shed tears when they hear the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America or Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning......thank you. We are Americans and we are strong. We are Americans and we will survive.

And to our military who continues to fight so that the rest of us may enjoy the freedoms of this country each and every minute of the day. May God Bless You Richly. Amen.