Happy Hour Sue asks, "Do you remember what you were doing?"
Yeah, I remember. I was at work. We lived in Philly at the time. My supervisor told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. I couldn't even understand what that meant. A plane landed on it? Crashed in the street? I was picturing some little, tiny puddle jumper. I could never have comprehended what actually happened without seeing the pictures. I imagine that's true for most people.
I worked in Center City, Philadelphia. There was no work done that morning. Coworkers were on the phone with loved ones, or trying to reach loved ones. I don't think we had text messaging seven years ago, did we? A lot of people's calls were going straight to voicemail. They let any employees leave who wanted to.
Businesses were wheeling televisions out onto the street so we could all watch. I remember standing out on the sidewalk, with tears streaming down my face, eyes glued to the screen. Then the second plane hit and the mayor evacuated all buildings over seven stories, including ours. I realized I'd been standing outside for 45 minutes and ran back in the office, knowing the Husband was probably getting worried (we worked in the same office then).
Most of my coworkers, including the Husband and I, took the train in, which we didn't really want to face at that point. We were scared. We didn't know what would happen next. In fact, I think Septa shut the trains down. Someone had a car and drove about five of us home. It took a couple of hours. The whole city was trying to drive home. We listened to the radio the whole time. We watched the television for about two more hours once we got home, until we realized it was just the same nightmare playing over and over with no new information. None that mattered anyway. Sometime in there I called my parents and let them know we were home okay. Then I think we slept for about eleven hours, traumatized, like everyone else.
Seven years later, watching this still makes me weep. I haven't watched any of the movies, listened to any of the horrid tapes. I don't believe any good comes from dwelling on it. But I do believe in remembering those who died and those who lost loved ones, learning what I can from tragedy, and I will do so today. And I'll give my daughter and husband and extra hug, and move on, and live.