Today is 9/11...
I cannot just bypass that fact.
Today is 9/11.
It’s been 11 years.
The weather that day was just as perfect as it is today!
Clear, blue, calm, sunny.
A good day to fly, or so I would have thought.
That was probably what the young mom and her 4 year old daughter thought, too. A perfect day to fly as they boarded that plane in Boston on their way to Disneyland in California where they were to meet up with the woman’s husband and the girl’s dad. They would have a blast at Disneyland. Of course they would...
Little did they know that they would be dead a little bit later.
Little did they know that they were going to fly, FULL FORCE, into the World Trade Center...
I was a young mom, too.
Karolina had just started Kindergarten. She had just turned five. My girl had been a school girl for only a short week.
It was a picture perfect morning, as I said.
I was on my way to the gym.
Well, on the radio I heard something SO strange. They were talking about a plane that had crashed in to the WTC in New York.
A second later Peter called me on my mobile. We both thought it was so strange with the plane.
HOW could someone navigate so wrong? ON a morning like THIS?
We thought it was a Cessna. A small plane.
The guys on the radio thought the same thing. It must have been a Cessna.
I continued to the gym.
And, in there people were glued to the TV-screens. The mood was strange, tense.
Then I knew why. It was NOT a Cessna that had navigated wrong. It was a commercial airline that was hijacked in some way.
A little bit later we ALL saw how the second plane crashed into the second tower.
I mean, we could NOT believe what we were seeing. People started crying. All around me. Everywhere.
Needless to say, I left the gym.
Peter called me just to say that he would be leaving the office.
It was around 9:30 in the morning.
I went home, turned the TV on.
Mayhem, craziness, shock, horror!
My parents called, my friends called. But, pretty soon the land lines went down. You could no longer reach a person in the US by phone.
My sister-in-law called me somehow. She said “DO you know there is a plane that has crashed into the Pentagon?”.
I did know. I had just heard. Three hijacked commercial airlines in ONE morning.
Suzy, my sister-in-law, said that they could NOT get a hold of Pete, my father in law. Pete worked at the Pentagon. And, there was NO way to reach him. Pete had not contacted us.
We did not know wether he was dead, or alive.
Peter came home from the office. We got word that there was another plane flying towards DC.
A little bit later we hear that said plane had crashed on a field in Pennsylvania. We did not know then that the passengers on that plane took “command” of the hijackers. That plane was meant to crash into the Capitol in Washington DC.
We picked up Karolina from school.
We went straight to Peter’s parents house. Peter’s sisters were there, and their husbands and children. And, my mother-in-law. Of course.
No words from Pete. None.
It is almost impossible for me to describe this day to you. It was so utterly gruesome and weird and strange.
And, I had a feeling that THIS would be the END of the world.
In the afternoon Pete called!
They had evacuated The Pentagon. The mobile phones did NOT work, the land lines were out. Pete had been walking until he found a functioning pay-phone.
BUT, he was ALIVE!
And, he was on his WAY home. OH the relief!
Peter and I left their house a bit later. We went home. We felt numb.
ALL of us felt numb.
It is almost impossible to describe how it was living in Washington or New York City, or in the US at large, the days, and months, following 9/11.
The same evening we had a power outage. The power just disappeared. BY then I really thought it was THE END.
But, the power came back almost right away.
But I’ll never forget the feeling.
The following weeks, and months, were bizarre. Just bizarre.
There was no school. I think the schools were closed for about a week. THERE was NO air traffic over the US. ONLY big military planes flew over us, and at night you could hear big helicopters and planes fly over us, to and from Dulles Airport. It was SURREAL!!
The air was thick with horror.
A month later we had the Anthrax threat. Some crazy person sent out Anthrax-spores in the mail and several people in DC died.
I had latex gloves on as I walked to the mail box to collect the mail. I opened ALL the mail outside the house.
Every morning for a while I remember that I checked outside the doors for white powder. I also remember that I just HAD to turn on the news before I even got out of bed.
Would it be OK? Was it OK to drink the water? What had happened overnight?
Well, now it has been eleven years.
It feels so distant, yet so CLOSE.
The world never, ever returned to be what it once was.
We all know that.
Today I will reflect over all this...
The following is borrowed from Wikipedia:
The four flights involved were:
* American Airlines Flight 11: Left Boston's Logan Airport at 7:59 a.m. enroute to Los Angeles with a crew of 11 and 76 passengers, not including five hijackers. The hijackers flew the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m.
* United Airlines Flight 175: Left Logan Airport at 8:14 a.m. enroute to Los Angeles with a crew of nine and 51 passengers, not including five hijackers. The hijackers flew the plane into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m.
* American Airlines Flight 77: Left Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia at 8:20 a.m. enroute to Los Angeles with a crew of six and 53 passengers, not including five hijackers. The hijackers flew the plane into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.
* United Airlines Flight 93: Left Newark International Airport at 8:42 a.m. enroute to San Francisco, with a crew of seven and 33 passengers, not including four hijackers. After the passengers revolted, the hijackers crashed the plane into the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m.