Every once and a while, an event comes along that shakes us to our cores. Forces us to take a look at ourselves and our lives. It brings change. Change in how we treat others, how we live, what we believe. It could be something like a car accident. But for many many Americans, here on our soil and those living abroad...It was September 11, 2001.
When I think back to that day, I can remember exactly where I was and even what I was wearing. Some may doubt that sense of recollection. But it is true. I was standing in a room full of innocent 2 and 3 year olds, working as a teacher (which I loved) at a church that I would find out, would choose to condem me for my beliefs.
I was wearing black dress boots, an ankle length black skirt that had red flowers on it with a black tee shirt. It was hot that day, my hair was pulled up in a pony tail ( I miss having hair that long sometimes)
It was just after snack time, free play, when my director came in and pulled me and Yolanda (my assistant) aside and told us that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers. Like many other Americans, we to chose to believe that it was simply a very horrible plane accident. But like many other American's our hearts told us otherwise.
We turned on the little radio that was situated in the corner of my classroom, one eye on the children, the other on the radio. What had happened? What was going to happen? My teacher assistant offered to watch the children and the remainder of us went into the other room to turn on the television. Surely our local news would have picked up on this by now.
It was the national FOX news that we found upon clicking on the television and what we were about to witness was alot more then just a horrible plane accident.
As I stood there, staring at the t.v. watching the chaos unfold, a 2nd plane hit the WTCs. Tears started to fall from our faces. We watched that morning as the news reported the plane crashes at the Pentagon and in that field in P.A.
We watched in horror as the towers fell to the ground.
Driving home that afternoon, my heart was heavy. One of my dear friend, whom I had replaced as teacher at another day care center about 6 months prior, had left teaching to pursue her dream of becoming a flight attendant...at that time I did not know her fate.
As I drove past the gas stations, the lines were horrible. What were people preparing for? As I listened to the radio, I heard talks of war, nuclear attacks, the end of the world. What was going on? Why did this happen?
In less then 24 hours, I would find out that I was pregnant (on 9/12) with my first child. When I found out I was pregnant, I cried. What kind of place would the post 9/11 world be like? What would America be like? How could I bring a child into this world? With all the talk of Nucular war, would I even live to see my baby be born?
Over the course of the next few days, my eyes scoured the internet reading the news waiting for any word on my friend. Her parents hadn't heard from her either. As I would drive to work each morning, I would look up at the sky and think of how "lonely" the sky looked with out the air traffic. My mom was stuck in Las Vegas, but atleast she was safe on the ground. It would be almost 4 days before she made it home.
About 6 days after that day, I recieved a phone call, it was from my friend's parents. 9/11 was her first scheduled day as a flight attendent. Her plane? The 2nd one that hit the towers. I remember falling to my knees. I had seen that plane hit. I couldn't imagine the terror she or anyone else at that moment felt.
It has been 8 years, according to the time now, to the date since that day happened. Our world has changed significantly. I watched as many of my childhood friends went to war, some did not return. Others, like my best friend in high school who was in the mission that captured Saddam Hussein, made it back to a hero's welcome. Still others are on their 3 or 4th tour of duty with no end in sight.
As American's we are more aware. Sometimes too aware, as racial profiling has increased. Some of us have moved on with our lives, never given a 2nd thought to those events. But most of us, everytime we look at that American Flag, we are reminded....
Our Freedom Isn't Free...
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