Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011--recollections

I was driving to work listening to "The Ticket" on that beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the traffic was heavy, everybody jockeying into position to be first in line at the traffic light. I was way back in this pack, and not minding. I was being totally and thoroughly entertained as usual by the verbal sparring going on between the boys. They start talking about an airplane that had run into one of the towers in New York City. They commented on the video feed they had received, and one of them said, "That wasn't a little plane, that looked like a 747." They bantered back and forth, how could that have happened, how could a big plane have gotten so off track, it must have been a little plane as reported, not a big one. It was all very frightening even at that point. They even discussed a possibility that it had been done on purpose.
The traffic had stopped at the light, and when the light turned green, no one moved. No one. We just all sat there. Time really felt like it was standing still, a tragedy "seemed" to have just happened, and we were all stunned. A couple people started honking their horns, and we all moved on. Those of us who were listening to our radios drove a little slower, maybe even a little more distracted than usual. I drove as quickly and carefully as I could to work, about ten miles further. When I pulled up to the house where I was working that day, my patient's mom ran out onto the porch and hollered at me to hurry and come inside. We exchanged information quickly as we ran into the house. A few seconds later, another plane hit the twin towers. We were horrified. We knew this may not be the end of it, and we were right. The rest of the day we did very little besides watch television and make phone calls to make sure everyone we loved was okay. My patient's mom had several friends that were working in those buildings, some of them made it, and some of them didn't. I had friends that were working in the area that all survived. Watching the people jump out of the buildings was so horrifying. It's not something I will ever forget. Watching the smoke billow and envelop scores of people is an image that will remain etched in my memory forever. The screaming and tears and the shocked faces of the people affected by this insanity will never ever leave my mind. The bravery of the firemen and policemen and everyday people was awe-inspiring.
Later in the day, we realized that all the air travel had been suspended. Their house was in the path to Love Field here in Dallas, and I had grown accustomed to the windows rattling everytime a plane flew overhead. The silence was eerie. Suddenly I heard some fighter jets flying by, so loud and so fast and so close that I thought the windows and my eardrums would break. Heck, the whole house shuddered. I realized with a start that our President was probably moving around the country for his safety with a fleet of jets. I called out to my patient's mom and told her to call her mother, who lived in Shreveport to tell her to start looking for the planes, that I bet the planes were flying into Barksdale, the Air Force Base at Shreveport. She called back a little later, and they had.
We were all on pins and needles the rest of the day. Watching the heart-breaking fall of the Twin Towers, and seeing our beautiful Pentagon destroyed was so sad. Not knowing how many more strikes were going to happen or where they would happen made for a very nerve-wracking day. Most of downtown Dallas was evacuated, especially the courts.
I'll never forget that day. And the days of sadness and shock that followed. My husband's company was doing some business with a large company in the Twin Towers. They had sent some correspondence on September 11. Slowly, each piece of mail was returned. It was very eerie and very sad for my husband and his coworkers. I love my country.

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