Twelve years ago

There are now millions of children who were unborn when 9-11 happened; it is now the stuff of history for them.

Here is my personal history of 9-11. I was working as a telephone researcher on that day. I was in the process of logging in to the computer when someone said that a light plane had flown into the World Trade Center. Instantly I was reminded that in World War II a bomber flew into the Empire State Building. People died, but the building stayed intact.

Several co-workers had accessed the news media websites. Soon I knew the truth. It began to dawn on me that history was taking a catastrophic turn, right here in supposedly indestructible America.

One of the supervisors was crying. She had family in New York and could not reach them. It seemed a good time to pray for her family and mine.  I had abandoned all thought of working. No one wanted to be on the phone doing a survey.

I took an excused absence at 10:30, after finally getting through to my Dad on a landline. He was as shocked as me, as he told me the Pentagon had also taken a hit. It all reminded him of Pearl Harbor. As I left, the receptionist said, “the second tower just fell.”

We’re at war, I thought.

I caught up on details while listening to NPR as I drove home. I dreaded what I would see on my TV, but I knew I had to watch.

The first scene I saw was the smoke cloud over Washington. Then came the plane, hitting the second tower. I felt I had been punched in the gut when it struck; I let out  a loud, sharp groan.

I spent the rest of the day, like most of America, watching the aftermath unfold. The dust hung over lower Manhattan like a thundercloud come to earth.

The newsmedia said the President’s whereabouts were unknown; I found that profoundly unsettling.

Years later, I had a dream in which the airliners were like toys in a video arcade. I could twist a knob and divert the planes, which crashed, one at street level and one in the Hudson. I remember I was weeping in the dream because I could not save everyone.


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