I, like everyone else in this world, remember exactly where I was on 911. I was at the parks and rec signing my children up for various programs. A police officer came in the room and told the girl behind the desk that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. When he left the room, the girl and I discussed how that would affect her trip scheduled to go to Little Italy the next day. I could not understand why that would cause her trip to be cancelled. A little plane hitting a building certainly would not shut down NYC!
Then we both wondered how a pilot could have not seen such a large building. How in the world did the pilot miscalculate the distance between him and the building? It just did not make sense to either of us. Yet, there I sat, filling out the forms for the various activities.
Then the police officer came back in and said another plane had hit the other tower. Now we knew something was up. I finished my paperwork and left. I was one of the last people allowed to walk into that building without security checks. That is what will always stand out in my head. It was the last time I would walk into a government building without a security check.
On 911, I had a cell phone. I got rid of it shortly afterwards and would not get another one until many years, but on that day I had one. Now this was 14 years ago and there was no thought about driving and talking on the cell phone, so of course, on 911 we all talked while driving.
My husband called me and told me to pick up our child from pre-school. I did not want to do it. I paid money for him to be in school and I thought it was silly to pull him out, but I went to the school. I remember ringing the bell and seeing the teacher we all loved so much.
“I’m sorry, I am here to pick up —, I don’t know if you know what happened.”
She most definitely knew what happened and she was surprised more parents had not come to get their children. She was not at all upset that I had done so. Therefore, I took my children and started to drive home.
I was listening to the local radio station. I know exactly what road I was on when I heard the Pentagon had been hit. I remember the shock, and I remember crying. It was that moment when it all struck me as reality.
I called my parent’s phone. Dad answered, of course!
“Dad, we’re at war.” I know that is exactly what I said. “We’re at war, and it’s here!”
My dad did not understand. I was very close to home and very frustrated. I could not get him to understand. I really just wanted to talk to my mother, but Dad would not give her the phone because he thought I was being irrational.
I remember telling him to turn on the television so he would understand what was happening.
I remember hanging up the phone because I would be able to talk to Mom when I got home.
I remember where I was on 911 and I remember the many ways it changed my life.
The thing is I don’t know if my father ever really understood how that day affected us. Maybe there are some advantages to having Alzheimer’s.