September 11, 2011 – In Remembrance

Twin Towers, March 2011Where were you on that fateful day 10 years ago? What have you told your children about it?

I was living in Boston at the time. I had just returned from a trip to Nova Scotia with my boyfriend (now husband). He had flown home the night before. We came on the same route that the terrorists did who flew into the Twin Towers. Who knows, we might have even been on the same Ferry with them. It was eerie!

At the time, I used to travel a lot for work, so I had a lot of people calling me to make sure I wasn’t “in the air.” My boyfriend (now husband) lived in Pittsburgh – not too far away from where the 4th plane went down. I can remember going upstairs to the 4th floor to one of the executive conference rooms to watch what was happening on a small black & white TV – it was the only one that we had in the building. Then I went back down to my office. Then the 2nd plane hit – and I went back up to the TV. I had a big report that day due to my boss, but he cut me some slack for not finishing it. In the days that followed, I watched and cried and watched and cried. I didn’t know anyone who was killed on that day – but I knew several who were close.

A good friend of my husband’s was one of the last to get out of of the towers before they fell – she worked in one of the buildings. A colleague of mine was getting out of a taxi at the twin towers when the first plane hit. He was supposed to give a presentation that day to one of the companies in the building. He walked all the way from the Twin Towers to the George Washington Bridge to leave the city. Another colleague had flown to the CDC to install one of the instruments that I managed. He was made to leave the building when they shut it down – and was stuck in Atlanta for five days before he could get back home. My good friend lived across the way in NJ and was able to see most of it from her window. She sent out videos by email (what did we do back in the days before facebook and twitter!).

I lived in New York City when the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993. I can remember filling up my sinks and bathtubs and every tupperware container that I had in my apartment with clean water – just in case someone tried to poison the NYC water supply. I had a good friend who was in the Towers when that attack happened – and I had been there only weeks before enjoying the sights from the top floor!

That day changed my life in profound ways. I decided that my job wasn’t the most important thing in the world to me – and I made the decision to move from Boston to Pittsburgh to be with my boyfriend (and soon to be husband). We weren’t engaged yet – had been dating just over a year.

I can remember going to the airport after that day. The first flight I took was on September 25th, 2001. It was actually for a job interview for a company in Pittsburgh – so that I could move to be with my husband. It took 2.5 hours just to get through the security line to enter the airport.

I remember the pictures and the videos and those planes – and all of the those people – and the 911 call that was recorded by the people on the plane that went down in PA. It was paralyzing! I didn’t want to watch, but I couldn’t stop myself from watching. I would go home every day for weeks and just watch it over and over again on the news. I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my life.

I can hardly believe that it has been 10 years. Today we went to an air show at an airforce base in Pittsburgh. I didn’t know what type of memorial they might have, so I wanted to prepare my son. My son is six – and I really couldn’t come up with a good way to tell him what happened. I told him that some people who thought they were doing the right thing, did a really bad thing that hurt a lot of people. We fly quite often and my son is a great traveler – so I didn’t want to tell him that they used planes full of innocent people to crash into buildings full of innocent people. I didn’t want to scare him. We left it at that.

Just today I looked up the memorial that they are building in NYC where the twin towers used to stand. The NYC skyline has such a hole in it now – it seems so “empty” without those mammoth buildings! I found a computer rendition of the proposed memorial that is being constructed. I can’t wait until it is finished. I can’t imagine anything that would be more appropriate to sit where those grand towers used to sit. It is beautiful and picturesque and perfect. It really gave me some peace.

My heart goes out to all of those who lost someone dear to them. I can’t even imagine.

What do you remember? What have you told your children? Please leave a comment with your memories, your advice for telling children about what happened or with links to your own stories.

Photograph of the Twin Towers used by permission under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

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