On the 20th anniversary of the day that changed so much for so many, I am struck by the reality that the calendar says 20 years has passed but the feelings of shock, fear and sadness are still so present when I recall all that happened on that day to our country.
One Week Prior
Just a week prior, we had been in New York, with my parents to see Big River on Broadway. After the show, we wandered into the lobby of the World Trade Center, knowing there was a subway entrance somewhere there. I asked the guard, having given up on figuring it out myself. He directed us down stairs.
A Little Backstory for Context
In August of 2001, We moved to Maryland from Connecticut. On the morning of the 11th we had a 10am appointment in Bethesda to setup/transfer our business banking accounts.
On September 11th
Around 9am I was on my computer text-chatting with my friend Lissa when she typed “hey, there’s something going on in New York at the World Trade Center”. I ran upstairs calling for Joe to come to the living room. I flipped on the TV just in time to see a plane hit the second tower. We were stunned, staring in disbelief. We stood there for several minutes trying to make sense of something that made absolutely no sense. I tried to call my son’s mobile. He had gone up the the city the day before. Phone call wouldn’t connect.
What can we do, what should we do? Should we drive down to the bank for our appointment or should we stay here? After realizing that there was nothing to do to help at this point, we decided to head down to the bank. That seemed like a better option than sitting, glued to the TV screen trying to understand what was happening.
As we headed south on I-95 on this otherwise clear blue sky day, we began to see a huge plume of smoke in the distance. No conception that it might be related to what we saw on TV in New York and absolutely no idea that it would be the Pentagon on fire.
We arrived at the bank. All the employees were in the lobby/reception area glued to the TV screen. We exchanged words of shock and disbelief as we all stood there. Ultimately we sat down to begin the paperwork. That’s when the Channel 4 newscaster announced that the Pentagon had been attacked. We then realized what the plume of smoke was that we saw on the way down. It was as though we were characters in a movie, far too much to process. Joe said, we probably need to get home, they agreed and had decided to close the bank and head home themselves.
The following day we went to the Red Cross, to give blood. We hoped that it might be something that we could do to help. We were turned away, along with many others who like us, felt strongly about the need to do something that might contribute.
Thinking back to having literally just been there, I wondered if the guard who had helped us find the subway at the Trade Center had been working on the 11th and if he had managed to made it out alive.
How does this relate to Living in Gratitude? I’m here, and so profoundly grateful for that.