Unless you were a very young child, it is likely that you remember with scary focus exactly where you were when you first realized our country was under attack. It was a beautiful, clear late summer day in the Washington suburbs. it was the kind of day when you feel like nothing bad can happen. And then, you realized than it could--and did.
I had just dropped my son off at preschool. The girls were off at their elementary school. My husband had gone to work. We had just purchased a new home and our current home was scheduled to go on the market on Saturday. Like every home owner preparing to sell their home, I was on the way to Home Depot to buy some last minute
home improvement items.
I had the radio on, listening to a local radio personality. I remember he came on and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. His guest was talking about it, too. I remember thinking what poor taste this 'bit' displayed, but I could not change the station--just in case they said more.
A little nervous when they did not stop talking about it, I pulled into the parking lot and called my husband at work. He knew about what was going on. He had a television at the office and had just seen the second plane hit. A few minutes earlier, he had been speaking with someone from their New York office on the phone and they had just dropped off the conference call because something was going on.
Living in the D.C. area, we were terrified. Our children were spread out, all over town. We decided that I would go straight home and he would collect the kids on his way home from work.
I remember going home and standing in the cul-de-sac with many of my neighbors. It was the most beautiful and scary day you can imagine. There was not a plane in the sky. The silence (we live near Dulles Airport) was frightening.
My husband brought the kids home. While at the preschool, he backed into someone's car, but they quickly exchanged information and left, knowing that this minor fender-bender was nothing in the grand scheme of things.
We sent our children inside, to the basement. We told them they had to watch videos and not live television. We told them that they could not play outside with their friends. We alternated between obsessively watching news coverage and talking to our neighbors. Many husbands and wives were caught out of town on business and with all air traffic shut down, there were many who could not get home.
Miraculously, we did not know anyone who died that day. We know people who knew people. So many folks in the D.C. area work in defense, contracting and the government--and in the Pentagon-- having connections to those who lost their lives was inevitable.
September 11, 2001 was a day when everything changed. It is a day that we should never forget.