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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Repost: September 11th

Originally posted on September 11, 2006, here is my September 11th story reposted for the 10th anniversary.  I've made some tweaks for readability and for folks who didn't know me back then.  A lot has changed in my life in the last 10 years.  On September 11, 2001, I was married to a man named Dave, and we divorced in 2006.  Dave and I worked together at a financial company (both of us in IT).

Here is what I said in 2006...

Well, my story isn't particularly exciting or different or anything. But, I want to write it down for myself, so I'm going to do it here. I was pretty lucky on 9/11. I didn't lose anyone, family or friends or even casual acquaintances. The closest person was maybe 2 to 3 degrees removed from me. I was never in danger, and my family wasn't in harms way (with the exception of my brothers in law, who were in DC, if that counts). Still, I want to remember.

The weekend had been my first wedding anniversary. Dave and I had gone to the Poconos to stay in a Caesar's resort. On the night of our anniversary (September 9th, Sunday night), we had seen Darrell Hammond perform at our resort. On the 10th, we drove home from Pennsylvania to find that our 2 cats had totally destroyed the underside of our boxspring in our bedroom. Tuesday was my first day back at work after being off Friday and Monday.

I got into work around 8:30. I think I was supposed to be in at 8, but I was late as usual. I did my usual thing of going downstairs to the cafeteria and getting an everything bagel and cream cheese and I was writing it down because I was back on Weight Watchers for the 100th time. While I ate my bagel, I chatted on the phone with one of our admins, who worked downtown and was talking to me about something that had gone wrong on the intranet while I was out. While I was talking, I was noticing that the woman who sat on the next aisle over was running around acting strange, freaking out about something. I assumed that something was wrong with their application. No one sat near me except one guy (who was later than I was), the rest of the cubicles on my aisle were empty.

I could hear the woman on the next aisle talking about trying to get to, and saying she couldn't get there, so I decided to check it out for myself. I managed to get in and there was a big picture of the WTC, with only the first tower hit. I got on AOL Instant Messenger and told Dave to go to and check it out, but he was too busy to talk to me, and he logged off.

I can't remember how I found out about the second plane, and if it happened before my co-worker got in or not. I do remember telling him that the towers had been hit, and he hadn't heard it in the car on the way in. I remember putting the emergency phone numbers up on the front page of the intranet without being asked, and when HR called to ask me to do it, I almost had it done already. I remember Dave calling, and he told me that there was a TV on the first floor to watch.

Said TV was 4 inches. One guy had it at his desk for some reason and there were maybe 20 of us crowded around it. Somebody in the front would watch and communicate to the back of the crowd what was going on, and somebody else had their wife on a cell phone watching CNN from home. Someone said a piece fell off of one of the buildings. Then, whoever was on the phone said no, the tower collapsed. I didn't believe it and said that couldn't be true, buildings don't fall down like that.

And I was generally in denial about the buildings collapsing until we discovered a television in a conference room and I could see it all on the big screen. I was trying to get a hold of my mom because there were rumors about bombs in DC and I wanted to know that my sisters and brothers-in-law were home. I couldn't get an outside line until afternoon. My co-worker and I sat and watched the television in the cafeteria during lunch. Finally, at like 3pm we could go home, but Dave stayed at work to fix something important.

I drove home thinking it was a gorgeous day. Sunny and pretty, and a military plane went over my house as I pulled up. I didn't turn on the news. Instead, I played video games until Dave got home a few hours later. If anything else bad was happening, I didn't want to know about it, and I couldn't watch the news anymore.

That night, I dreamt about fire and I couldn't sleep and I woke up sick to my stomach at about 3am. I got up and watched television in the basement. Dave came downstairs and found me asleep and thought I was mad at him. I called out of work on the 12th because I still felt sick.

Note from 2011: I have often felt almost guilty for not being as affected by 9/11 as others were.  I think I was about 3 degrees separate from anyone who died that day, so while I mourned for the country and for those that died, I didn't personally mourn.  Slate published an interesting article about just that type of feeling, so I thought I'd add a link here.

I don't really know what else to say about that day.  I wish it hadn't happened, but it did.  I guess the best thing I can say is that I am going to New York in 8 weeks, where I will run beside the family members of 9/11 victims, and I'm proud to do so.

1 comment:

lindsay said...

though you didn't know anyone personally, we were all affected. i'm sure you feel a tug on your heart strings when you see/read 9/11 stories about first responders or family members who were left behind. could you imagine being one of the people on flight 93? balls. those people saved a ton of lives, as well as preventing further mayhem.

i was a senior in high school. i had late arrival (no 1st period class) and had heard it on the radio on my way in to school so i got to "break" the news to my classmates and teacher. the teacher still made us learn for most of the class but then she turned on the tv. i think we spent the rest of the day watching the news in each class instead of having actual-class.

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