September 11, 2011 – Ten Years Later
Good morning Mintdom,
It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since that horrific day. On that day ten years ago, I was working for the Supermarket Association in downtown, Washington, DC. My office was across the street from the White House and you could see the Pentagon from a couple of the offices. I rode the commuter bus to work from Sterling, Virginia. I could almost see Dulles Airport from the lot where I caught the bus. Looking back at that day, I was standing at the bus stop at the same time that the terrorists were getting on Flight 77 – the plane that hit the Pentagon.
It is funny how you remember little things on a big day. I remember that morning on the bus. I remember talking with the bus driver and a few passengers that morning saying, “Another day – another dollar.” Whenever I hear that phrase, I think about that day.
Our office had TV in most of the offices. My boss had a TV in hers; it was always on. I was at my desk when the first plane hit in New York. I heard someone say that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I walked into my boss’s office just as the second plane crashed into the other tower. I heard voices say that it was a terrorist attack. I guess I could not get my mind around that because I kept thinking that something was wrong with the FAA’s radar in New York. Who could have imagined?
My boss had just come in and I had just hung up the phone with one of my daughters when the plane hit the Pentagon. I heard someone shout, “They just bombed the Pentagon.” I remember going to one of the offices, to see the Pentagon with big black smoke billowing out of it. One of our lawyers was standing there crying. When I was in school, I remember learning that the Pentagon was impenetrable.
After they hit the Pentagon things and the timing of things is a blur. I can tell you that as much as I would like to say that I was a hero that day, I was not. I could only think of one thing, and that was how I was going to get home. A couple of people were going to take the metro home. I could not imagine going into a tunnel after what had just happened. It did not feel safe anywhere. One of our vice presidents lived out in my area and drove in to work. I did not know her, except to say hello, but I asked her if she could get me to Sterling. Of course, she said yes. She was my hero that day.
I do not know why, but I had two cell phones that day. Neither of them worked locally because the lines were jammed; however, I was able to call my parents who were in Minnesota at the time. They in turned called my kids to let them know that I was all right and leaving the city. We were listening to the car radio at first, but it too much for us to listen to, and we decided to turn it off. I do not remember if that was before or after the plane crashed in Pennsylvania. I did not know that the Twin Towers fell until I got home. What would normally take 20 minutes – took us four hours to get out of the city. The Maryland, Virginia Beltway never looked so good to me, nor has it since that day. I spent the next two days glued to my TV.
I do not know how to describe how I felt on that day or how I feel remembering it. Normally I am good during a crisis and only after it is all over, do I let my emotions overcome me. That never happened after that day. I have cried some over the years when I see a movie or a news report of September 11, 2001, but never just let it go. Maybe it would have been too much for me or maybe I have never felt that it was over.
I hope we will always remember all the people that died or had family members and friends that died, and especially all of the heroes. I will remember mine.
My sign off is especially meaningful to me today.
Make it a GREAT day, IF you choose to.
What are you waiting for?