On September 11, 2001 I was at work. I was listening to the little radio in my cube when I heard the news break in with the report that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. About that time several of my co-workers had heard the news as well and we all gathered in the hall to talk about it. When the second plane hit, one of the geologists on my floor went into the big conference room and turned on the television. Most everyone on the 18th floor gathered around the conference room table and watched the news reports about the attacks. No one said a word – we all just stood there quietly, trying to make sense of what had happened. And then we watched in horror and disbelief as the twin towers came down one after the other.
My office building is located across from the Federal Building, and once it became clear that terrorists were responsible for the attacks in New York City, the Pentagon, and the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, there was growing concern for all the employees in downtown Tulsa. I left work early that day. To be honest, I didn’t really fear for my safety in a literal sense, but I was afraid. I was afraid for what was happening to all those poor souls trapped in the twin towers. I was afraid for the firefighters and first responders. I was afraid for all of their families. I was afraid for my family.
That night after Tripp got home, the three of us sat glued in front of our TV upstairs. Our neighborhood streets were noticeably empty (other families likely doing the same thing) and the skies were eerily quiet without the constant airplane noise we were accustomed to. Kelsey wanted to go outside and play, but I wanted her to keep her close to me. I was terrified of letting her outside into a world that I no longer recognized.
In the days following the attacks, I watched as our nation became unified in our resolve to support and help those affected. I watched as people stood in line for hours to donate blood and volunteered to help in any way they could. People of different faiths came together in prayer services to seek comfort and offer up prayers for the victims and their families. It seemed to me that for a while it ceased to matter what race, religion, political affiliation, or financial status one was a part of – we were Americans.
Ten years later and I personally suffer only minor inconveniences from the terror attacks on my country. I put my lipgloss in a ziploc baggie and take my shoes off in the airport. Sometimes I have to show the contents of my purse at a football game or concert. It’s nothing in comparison the suffering of the families who lost loved ones in those deliberate acts of violence. It’s nothing compared to the memories that must haunt the those who survived. Somehow though, they continue to live on in spite of what they suffered. And their hope and faith is an inspiration to me.