I don’t have any direct personal connections to the events of September 11, 2001. Ten years ago, my life was limited mostly to living at my parents’ house and working at a local grocery store. Every day was the same. My world was small. My world was safe.
On that Tuesday morning, I did what any recent college graduate who doesn’t have to be at work until the afternoon might do, I went over to my parents’ bedroom and curled up to watch the morning shows on their television. It’s what I did pretty much every other day. The same old, same old.
Except that day, September 11, 2001 wasn’t the same old. That day was different because my mom left earlier in the morning on a business trip. Around the same time that I was watching Katie and Matt on the Today Show, she was sitting on a plane at Philadelphia International Airport. She was flying out to Chicago. I was to join her there a few days later.
And then there was breaking news. At first, it was just confusing. A plane crashed into a skyscraper in New York City. How did that happen? Then it got scary. Another plane. And another one. And another one. It seemed like planes were coming down everywhere. But where were they were taking off from?
Our phone started ringing. Cousins calling – do you know where your mom is? Do you know what her flight information is? Have you heard from her? No. No. No. I don’t know whether I called him or he called me but at some point I talked to my brother who was living in an apartment a few minutes away from our house. A few minutes later, the brother who has caused more family drama by not showing up showed up.
Together, we watched the news coverage and watched as the Towers fell. I still remember him calling to me when I was in the bathroom – “The second one’s going.” It was all so incomprehensible. So devastating. I can’t remember how or when but we heard from our mom. She had been sitting on the runway getting ready to take off when air traffic was shut down. Her plane returned to the gate and she began the journey home.
By the time I got home from work that night, my mom was home. But thousands of other moms, and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters never returned home at the end of that day.
After September 11, 2001, the world didn’t feel as safe anymore.
Ten years. Still incomprehensible. Still devastating.