Never Forget

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, my family was supposed to fly to Florida for a ten day vacation. Instead my dad woke us up at 5:45 am telling us to get downstairs to watch the news. We were irritated and tired. My first thought was a hurricane, but as we all gathered around the tv, we realized it was much more serious. We saw the first tower up in smoke and then watched the next plane hit the second tower right before our eyes.

My mom quickly decided we weren’t going on vacation. She worked (and still does) for AAA and called it even before the news did: there would be no flights that day. Sure enough, flights were cancelled and she had to go into work to help her staff deal with the upset customers whose travel plans were all changing. While most of them were scared and understanding, some were annoyed and even angry. I couldn’t believe the stories she told us that night of the impatient, inflexible and unsympathetic American customers.

For the rest of the day, my dad, brother, sister and I stayed in the living room, glued to the news. We watched the coverage of the Pentagon crash, the Pennsylvania crash and the crumbling of the towers and nearby buildings. We were horrified. I remember watching people run down the street, covered in black soot, crying, while paper was flying all over the place. I remember watching people jumping from the buildings. I remember the cloud of smoke rolling down the streets. We are such a talkative and hilarious family, but that might have been the quietest we’d ever been.

I’m glad we were supposed to go on vacation that day, otherwise I would have been dealing with this on my own. I lived in my college town, three hours away, where both of my roommates had gone home for the summer. For the next few days my family and I just stayed at my parents' house (we already had the time off work for our vacation), we hung out, cooked, ate, enjoyed each others company and watched 24 hour news coverage of the attacks. Luckily we didn’t know one single person affected by the attacks, but it didn‘t make it any less sad.

In November of 2001, Jacob and I were on vacation in Virginia and decided to drive to Washington DC. We went to the Pentagon where a viewing area was set up in the parking lot.  The country was still on high terror alert and the anthrax attacks were going on, so the state buildings and museums were closed and our road trip was a bust. We were there on Veterans Day though. Emotions were high and everyone was happy to celebrate those who had served.

In November of 2004, we went on a family vacation to NYC for a week over Thanksgiving. Among the holiday fun like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and The Rockettes at Radio City, we visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and of course Ground Zero. We were all surprised by how much that stop affected the rest of our day. We were sad. It was surreal. But as you can see by my pictures, NYC was moving on and building up.

In October 2009, Jacob and I went to NYC for our anniversary. The one day we decided to head down to Ground Zero was the only day it rained during our whole trip. It poured and we were soaked, but it didn’t stop us from checking it out. This time there wasn't much to see.

Today I’m thinking about the 2,753 people who lost their lives in NYC, DC and PA. I’m thinking about their families and friends who have suffered such tragic loss. I’m thinking about the heroes that risked their lives doing what they do best. And I’m thinking about the men and women in the military who continue to defend our country. Thank you.


Kori Donahue said...

Such a wonderful tribute honey. I did one too today. You might want to check it out. Hope you have a fabulous Sunday.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway where you can win a $50 gift card to Victoria's Secret!


Kori xoxo

hotpants™ said...

It was a day I'll never forget. It all seemed like a movie unfolding.

kenli said...

what a great post. i want to visit ground zero so bad - but all of this stuff still makes me an emotional wreck. it doesn't seem like it was ten years ago. . . it's all still so fresh to me.

[SMASH] said...

Good post. Amazing that you've gotten to visit both places in person. We'll definitely never forget.