Saturday, September 11, 2010

They asked our Grandparents...

"Where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked?" 

They asked our parents...

"Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?" 

And they'll ask us year after year...

"Where were you when the towers fell?" 

On September 11th 2001, I was a sophomore in high school. G.I. Joe had very temporarily transferred to a school down in Louisiana but was due to move back up here any day. So naturally that morning when our Spanish teacher was running late, I was at my desk day dreaming about my hunky crush. I couldn't wait to see his face again. All I kept thinking was how would I contain my excitement? I wanted to jump into his arms when I saw him! But we were "just friends." My feelings would be way to obvious if I cried tears of joy when he returned, and that is so not cool when you're 15.

My mind was far away in all these deep issues when our teacher finally came in with a deathly sick look on her face. The room hushed. She was out of breath. Something was very wrong.

"A commercial airplane was high jacked. They flew into one of the World Trade Center towers. Terrorists are attacking America." 

No introductions or work up needed when you drop news like that.

The rest of that day, and week, were a blur. That day no work was done. All the high school classes fought over the tv's the school had so we could watch bits a pieces of the news. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time but I just knew my life was different after that. G.I. Joe's face was ingrained on my heart at that point. I had no way of knowing that we would get married 4 years later or that years of our marriage would revolve around the war on terrorism but I could feel something coming.

If I'm not mistaken, G.I. Joe was due to fly back that day, but his flight was grounded. Even though we were two 15 year olds at the time I felt safer once he was sitting in class with me. The country was in shambles and everyone was scared, but I knew my future was secure. My soul felt complete despite the fact that we hadn't told each other how we felt.

If someone would have let him that boy would have joined the Army on that very fateful day. On a day like today I pray even harder that he'll be back in uniform soon. So many innocent lives were lost 9 years ago. But I am so thankful for the brave Americans (definitely including police and firemen) who fight to keep us free. And I am unbelievably proud to say that I'm married to an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran.

So...where were you on September 11th 2001?

Military spouses...
even if you weren't married then, 
did you have any idea how much that day changed your life?

But I have to also add what my most powerful 9-11 memory is.
I was at Friendly's having ice cream with a friend a few weeks after the attacks.
Even though it had been weeks the manager came around to every table and asked if we'd like to participate in a prayer and candle lighting outside.

Most of the people there got up and walked out into the unseasonably cool winds.
We lit candles.
We prayed.
We sang Amazing Grace.

But completely united.

I miss that America.
The one that was mad, scared, grateful, respectful, and determined.

I was naive at 15.
I sort of thought the state of things 1 month after 9-11 would be the same mindset present
9 months after,
or 9 years after.


heather said...

I was sitting in my first period english class( almost time for 2nd prd.) when my friend came in late from the dentist and was telling us what she heard on the radio. so we turned on the t.v.. I saw the 2nd one fall. I will never forget that day, watching tv and seeing those families holding up pictures of people they couldn't find. And most never would.

At that time I didn't know my husband and I really didn't know what all that ment. I didn't know that ment we would still be in a on going war. I didn't know I would be married to a army soldier. I was oh so young and just didn't understand.

Side note. I had gone to New York that July and we had the choice to see the towers or the Empire State building (didn't have enough time).. Well we chose to do the Empire Stare building, figured we will come back again and do the towers... We were shocked as a family to think we had just been there and missed out on doing something that wouldn't be there any more. To this day if we talk about that trip we always say "I wish we had picked the towers".....

*great post*

Me said...

I was teaching 2nd graders in North Carolina. My parents lived in NY at that time. The guidance counselor came to my room and told me I needed to go watch the TV and call my parents. Things after that were a blur, until later that night when I was home with my daughter and finally able to talk to my parents, who were fine. I'll never forget and every year I try to teach my students about what it was like. (Especially since my current students weren't born yet!)

Melissa A. said...

Beautiful post. I was teaching a class full of 3 year olds, and would find out 24 hours later that I was pregnant with my first son. I lost a friend, who was on one of the trade tower planes, that day.

Amanda said...

I was walking down 6 Ave on my way to work when the first plane hit. Still remember every minute like it was yesterday. I hadn't met my husband yet, but little did I know I would be marrying into the Army and getting a whole new perspective on the situation years later.

Julie the Army Wife said...

I was sleeping but hearing the news got me out of bed. Went to my classes and I still remember how different everything felt.

I was dating my husband but he wasn't active duty at the time. I had no way of knowing that he would later fight in this war against terrorism or that it would be such a huge part of our lives.

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I was a senior in high school and the next day tons of my guy friends went and signed up for the military. I just remember being in class and seeing the 2nd plane it. Everyone was devastated.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think everyone remembers the details of day. I was "deployed" to Bosnia at the time and I remember saying "Gosh, today has been so slow; kind of boring" and a few second later one of my Soldiers rushed into our office screaming that the Pentagon had been bombed. It was so unreal. I remember watching over and over the footage of the towers coming down. It was so eerie.

Shanda said...

What a sad and devastating day that was for so many people. I worked at the bank inside of Walmart and was on my way in for the morning. While sitting in the parking lot with my radio on I heard the news of the first plane crashing into the towers. My mom called and said "oh my gosh, have you heard whats happening?" I stayed on the phone with her and then all of a sudden she yelled and said "another one just hit the other tower". It was a moment I will never forget. As I walked into the store you could tell everyone else was stunned. All of the tvs suspended from the ceiling were playing the news, cash registers were unmanned as the associates stood under the tvs watching with empty looks on their faces. The whole day was a blur. The store was unusually quiet as very few people came into the store or the bank. Those that did were drawn to the tvs. I will NEVER forget that day and neither will millions of others.

Dayngr | Dayngrous Discourse said...

9/11 changed my life too. I met the man I would marry because of it (he was in the military too). As tragic as the day was, it changed my life forever, as it did for so many others.

addicted2shius said...

Beautifully written as always. Such a tragic event but the real tragedy I agree is how people have seem to forgotten. I too miss the bonded, stronger America. One full of pride and strong sense of community.

hmb said...

I love everyone's where was I stories!

Totally unrelated, but have you ever noticed that people also always remember where they were when the OJ Simpson verdict was read? That seems in sane to me...

The Mrs. said...

The Mr. and I were "just friends" then too. He was deployed (first real deployment) with the Marine Corps, and on his way back. I remember in the days after the attacks and talk of how we are fighting back, I told my mom one night that I'd MARRY the Mr. if he went off to war... Just friends to HUSBAND right.. lol... well, we started dating when he returned from that deployment (9 years comin' up in November!) and we married after he returned from Iraq. (7 years ago, yesterday!)

As for me, I was sleeping on the couch, when it all happened. My mom was watching the news, my dad called her from the airport (he worked there, in Seattle) and told her to watch the news. I was awake enough to know what was happening, but too tired to process it.

I would say, that day, set the ball in motion for the rest of my life.

The Mr. now guards the Capitol, the missed target that day. He wants to be an air marshal, everything in my life, goes back to that day!

I miss that unity America had back then... Its just not the same... :-(