OUR "REMEMBER ME"
I was a stay at home mom with an unexciting life...it is what it is...
September 11, 2001 was just another day to survive. Summer was now officially over, Labor Day had come and gone and it was time to get into my new routine. Get up, get my oldest ready for school (she had just started second grade), feed an entertain my almost 15 month old son, and make sure he didn't kill himself, torture the cat, or crack eggs in his toy grill (yes...he did this...I found it later when I noticed something gooey dripping down the front of it). After working full-time for 9 years, this was my "new normal".
I woke up at my normal time of 7:30 and got my daughter ready for school. Put my son in the stroller and headed to the bus stop at 8:15 (I'm on Central Time...so by now, one plane has hit the tower, but I'm blissfully unaware as Nickelodeon was playing on my TV when I left). Chatted with my neighbor at the bus stop, then headed back home to feed my son.
Jack was in his highchair...making a mess of everything when I decided it was time for "mom's channel" and put my favorite news channel on to see what was going on in the world. And that is when I see a live feed of one of the towers burning. At this point, they are reporting that a "small" plane had hit the WTC. So I went about my business of feeding and cleaning him up, while keeping an ear open to the TV...but thinking, that's a pretty big hole in the side of that building for a small plane.
Just a side-note...I don't fly...haven't flown since I was 21...had some "problems" on previous flights (was supposed to be on one that crashed at O'Hara in 1979, killing everyone on board). So plane crashes ALWAYS get my attention. I just couldn't fathom how a plane could not avoid hitting that building.
As the TV gets my full attention, I start to think, my God...how are those people going to get out of there on the floors above it?? Did anyone survive where it hit??? What must be going on in that building right now??? I tried to envision what those people must be going through.
I have put the gate up to keep my son from wandering the house and finding more trouble, gotten him some toys to entertain him, and am on the couch watching and listening to what the reporters are saying. And then I see it...another plane...not a small one, but a commercial jet slam into the second tower. All I could think was OH MY GOD!!! That was intentional!!!
Now I'm calling my husband at work, and telling him to turn on the TV...planes have hit the WTC. And I just sat there...dumbfounded...this was not happening...I was not watching the United States of America being attacked.
I have no idea how long I sat there, with my mouth hanging open, just watching. I have a few friends in NYC, but didn't know where they were in relation to this. I couldn't stop thinking about them...worrying. And then the news was live on the phone with a reporter in the Pentagon...who just reported an explosion. And then I knew...this was not random.
My phone started ringing and it was my best friend at the time. She lived in Chicago, her husband worked at the Chicago Board of Trade...she was in hysterics. He was on the floor and couldn't be reached. She was home with 11-month old twin sons panicking that planes would fly into his building.
We just sat silent on the phone...watching the buildings burn and rescuers run into the buildings, an occasional OMG...waiting for another shoe to drop. While my son was playing with his toys...blissfully unaware that the world he was born into would never be the same.
By now, all planes have been ordered out of the sky. I was numb. This had never happened...how do you get that many planes down on the ground. Were there more out there???
And then we hear of a rogue plane...somewhere over Pennsylvania...fighter jets are ordered up. And then we hear the plane is down...and all you see is a hole in the ground...nothing left. At this point I finally cry...this is real.
I stay on the phone with my girlfriend...waiting for word on her husband...and if Chicago is hit. She finally hears from him and begs him to come home...leave work...get out of there and come home safely.
By this point, the news has multiple picture boxes up at the same time...the WTC burning...a section of the Pentagon in flames...a hole in a field in Pennsylvania. And then it happens...the first tower starts to crumble and I scream in horror...knowing there are people who didn't get out...how could they??? And in a matter of seconds, I watch people running for their lives from a cloud of debris...of what used to be a building...people...lives...
And then the second one fell...it was over. Another wall cloud...more lives lost...total destruction.
I didn't move from my TV the rest of that day...I'm sure I fed my son, put him down for his nap, changed some diapers...but I don't remember any of that. I went to bed that night still watching...unable to pull myself away...waiting for survivors to be pulled from the wreckage and taken to the hospitals awaiting their arrival...sadly, they didn't come.
I woke up the next morning knowing we were at war...and this world and my life would never be the same. We weren't safe anymore. But I got up, got my daughter ready for school...took her to the bus...fed my son...began my routine again...same as yesterday...yet different. This was my, and the rest of America's "new normal".
It's morning somewhere in South Jersey but that's where I reside but I shall always be a Philadelphian and no borderline will ever change that fact lol.
My clock went off at 7am. I'm working at home today. Turn on NBC's Today Show as part of my morning routine (at that time). Gotta see Katie, Matt and Al. What's the political fight of the day? President Bush wasn't liked in the least bit. Controversial story was coming out about the election this morning and I just had to have all the scoop for the water cooler talk when I went into the office the next day.
Set up my work computer as normal, gather my work but of course I won't start officially working until 8am. That's when I punch the time clock so to speak. Sitting on the couch watching TV, 8am comes and I begin work. But low and behold something came up and I have to go into the office. So I go upstairs and begin getting dressed for work...can't go in with the nighties on...TV on downstairs and TV on upstairs because I can't miss anything Katie, Matt and Al are saying.
So it's about a quarter to 9 and I'm ready to go...the jovial Katie and Matt got serious. They're reporting a plane flew into the WTC...Well those buildings are pretty solid and could handle a small plane.
Hoping not too many people were hurt or even killed for that matter...you look at the smoke and it doesn't look like a small plane...worried because it's a sight to see. Small plane? Naw, that plane had to be bigger than that because a small plane would have been crushed going into that concrete beast. I'm engrossed into the TV but I've got to go.
Never opened the blinds, I go outside and OMG, what a beautiful day. The sky was ice blue, the clouds were fluffy white...like cotton, slight breeze... just gorgeous. Taking the air into my lungs getting into my car...the sky makes me happy after seeing that sad event. Start the car and turned on the reliable KYW News radio driving to work, window down, looking at the sky as I drive ahead I switch on ABC TV on the radio (before radio went digital and we lost ABC)...Good Morning America was on...another plane flew into the other WTC tower!!! Two handed grip on the steering wheel led to the realization that this is being done on purpose, OMG, we're being attacked.
Now one hand on the steering wheel the other hand in the pocketbook fumbling to find my cell phone...scared...not knowing what's going on...what's next? Who's next? Thinking about my sister who works in a government building...trying to find my phone and call my mom...line's dead.
No cell service...trying to keep calm...keep my eyes on the road... hitting redial...trying to listen to GMA...they said another plane cannot be located...
I run into the office, radios are blasting with GMA (staticky) all heads are up in every cubicle, worried...scared...breathing hard..a plane crashed into the Pentagon.
We all are in shock and scared, we all said that nothing and no one is safe. WHAT WAS HAPPENING?!! We all agreed that we had to get home and get to our families. People began packing up to return home...phone lines are jammed...still cannot reach my parents or my sister.
Airplanes are grounded, NY, DC, Philly, Newark and Boston are on high alert and lockdown...one plane is still missing, the military is ready to shoot down rogue planes. Still unable to reach family and friends, a plane is now somewhere in PENNSYLVANIA and we do not know if that plane is headed to Philly or not...then the radio announces a plane had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
I am literally in tears asking, "Why is this happening?!" After I returned home and flipping through every channel, I couldn't believe my eyes. The flames coming out the the WTC,the Pentagon,the field in PA. The look in the eyes of the most confident reassured newsmen in the business, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather are seriously shaken and scared. They're supposed to keep us calm, build our confidence, tell us that everything is going to be alright - and they couldn't.
The buildings fell. Those are the buildings when you saw them from I-95 you knew you were almost at NYC. That was the sign that your 2 hour drive was almost over. They made you happy, they were the symbol saying "I'm at New York City"...now they're gone. They're gone.
All I wanted that day is to hear from or see the President. Anyone with authority...someone to tell us that we were going to be ok. No one showed their face and that made me angry.
I just remember the day ended with the unknown. Got up the next day...tired, sad, cried out, scared and wondering if they were going to come to my city because we were so close to the attacks but just far enough away.
Went to work on the 12th with plenty of questions and no answers and thinking how beautiful that morning was and how the day ended with the future being unknown to us all.
These were our lives. Average Americans dealing with our families our friends and our lives like we normally did everyday.
Someone was being arrested or eating breakfast at a diner or arguing with his wife, having a baby or saving a life. Someone was writing a book, changing a diaper, taking their child to school, repairing a car....going about their lives as the always do.
The movie "Remember Me" when it was released was controversial. But why? It was a story about a guy who didn't get along with his father, was hurting from losing his best friend in his brother, loved his mother and sister, was a friend and fell in love.
When you think about the people who lost their lives in the WTC, they could have been a "Tyler", they were all "Tyler's" because they were just doing what they do everyday. Then something evil took them away.
The movie "Remember Me" is what we all should do for the "Tyler's" that were not able to leave those buildings...remember them...always.
Timeline of Events From
September 11, 2001
Compiled from reports by The Associated Press and The Washington Post Monday, September 11, 2006; 11:54 AM
8:00 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11, Boeing 767 with 92 people aboard, takes off from Boston's Logan International Airport for Los Angeles.
8:14 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175, Boeing 767 with 65 people aboard, takes off from Boston's Logan airport for Los Angeles.
8:21 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77, Boeing 757 with 64 people aboard, takes off from Washington Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles.
8:40 a.m.: Federal Aviation Administration notifies North American Aerospace Defense Command's Northeast Air Defense Sector about suspected hijacking of American Flight 11.
8:41 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93, Boeing 757 with 44 people aboard, takes off from Newark International Airport for San Francisco.
8:43 a.m.: FAA notifies NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector about suspected hijacking of United Flight 175.
8:46 a.m.: American Flight 11 crashes into north tower of World Trade Center.
9:03 a.m.: United Flight 175 crashes into south tower of World Trade Center.
9:08 a.m.: FAA bans all takeoffs nationwide for flights going to or through airspace around New York City.
9:21 a.m.: All bridges and tunnels into Manhattan closed.
9:24 a.m.: FAA notifies NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector about suspected hijacking of American Flight 77.
9:26 a.m.: FAA bans takeoffs of all civilian aircraft.
9:31 a.m.: President Bush, in Florida, calls crashes an "apparent terrorist attack on our country."
9:40 a.m. (approx.): American Flight 77 crashes into Pentagon.
9:45 a.m.: FAA orders all aircraft to land at nearest airport as soon as practical. More than 4,500 aircraft in air at the time.
9:48 a.m.: U.S. Capitol and White House's West Wing evacuated.
9:59 a.m.: South tower of trade center collapses.
10:07 a.m. (approx.): United Flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania field.
10:28 a.m.: North tower of World Trade Center collapses.
11:00 a.m.: New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani orders evacuation of lower Manhattan.
12 p.m.: Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express and MARC shut down rail service.
1:04 p.m.: From Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana, Bush announces U.S. military on high-alert worldwide.
2:51 p.m.: Navy dispatches missile destroyers to New York, Washington.
3:07 p.m.: Bush arrives at U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
4 p.m.: Northbound lanes of Interstate 395 reopen.
5:25 p.m.: Empty 47-story Seven World Trade Center collapses.
6 p.m. Trade Center Building No. 7, another building in the complex, collapses.
6:30 p.m. About 150 lawmakers gathered on the Capitol's steps. Some -- including House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) -- give speeches, then the group observes a moment of silence, followed by a spontaneous chorus of "God Bless America." George Washington Memorial Parkway reopens.
6:58 p.m. President Bush returns to the White House after stops at military bases in Louisiana and Nebraska.
7:30 p.m. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces that the Pentagon will open for business on Wed., Sept. 12.
8:30 p.m. President Bush addresses the nation again, summing up the attacks as "evil, despicable acts of terror" and quoting from the Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me."