In 2001, my husband and I had recently moved to Newcastle, WA and our daughter was just starting her junior year at the University of Washington.
The day after 9/11, I wrote a 2-page essay to capture the event and my feelings from that day.
Here is an excerpt from that long ago essay:
‘Before too much time goes by, I want to write down my thoughts and feelings about the horrific events that shocked our country yesterday. Other than John F. Kennedy’s assassination, I have never been so profoundly affected – it is truly the worse day of my life!
I was getting ready for work and telling my mother-in-law that our oldest grandson had been born the night before. My husband went for a run, came home, turned on the radio and came running in and said, ‘we have been attacked, turn on the TV’! I turned on the Today Show and immediately burst into tears of horror, shock, and dismay. Tears streamed down my face as I watched the first fire at the World Trade Center. At the time, I didn’t know it had been hit by one of our planes. As I was watching, Katie Couric said, ‘Oh My God’ and another plane flew into the second tower. The scene was something worse than any disaster movie could have ever dreamed up!
At that point, I left a tearful message on our daughter’s phone and told her to turn on the TV. Moments later, she called and was crying hard. She said she wanted to come home.
My husband continued to get ready for work, but I was immobilized in front of the TV with tears continuing to stream down my face. My husband was visibly upset, but said he needed to go. He kissed me goodbye and left.
My shock, horror, and disbelief continued as I watched the scene continue to unfold. The two towers imploded and my heart was crying out for those who lost their lives. I was also horrified about the 4 planes crashing. Any one of those events would have been enough but to have all of them happen, almost simultaneously, was absolutely overwhelming.
Our daughter arrived. I hugged her very hard and told her that I loved her. She was white with shock and in tears. She said the drive over Lake Washington was quiet; people in other cars were stone-faced as they listened to the news.
I decided to get some groceries, got in the car, and the radio was playing, ‘God Bless the USA’. I started crying again and when I arrived at the store, left my dark glasses on. There were a few fellow shoppers, all quiet and grim. Everyone was very quiet and polite.
I had a work meeting in downtown Seattle later in the day and learned our office building had been secured. I arrived and needed my access card to get in. I then needed someone to come and get me on the elevator because they were also secured.
After I left after my meeting, downtown Seattle was a ghost town. A handful of people were on the streets and the freeways weren’t crowded – very untypical of rush hour in Seattle.
Once home, we went for a walk and had BBQ hamburgers on our deck. It was eerily quiet. We were used to plane noise overhead, but the air space had been closed.
We made some half-hearted attempts to discuss something else, but our conversation kept coming back to the horrors of the day. President Bush spoke and more details emerged about the plane that hit the Pentagon, cell calls made by doomed passengers, and what appeared to be a heroic attempt by the crew or passengers of one to the planes to avoid the White House by crashing the plane in an unpopulated area in Pennsylvania.
Due to my exhaustion, I slept hard through the night and woke up wondering if this had just been a horrible dream. But it was all too real!
IF something good comes out of something so bad, it may be:
- Increased patriotism
- Kindness for our fellow Americans
- A better sense of what is truly important’
P.S. Today’s blog photo was taken by my husband. He and our daughter went to NYC in early October of 2001.