I’ve thought long and hard about taking the time to write down where I was and what I was doing on 9.11.01, and despite having a sister working in New York City, and a husband working in Washington DC, I have come to the realization that there is nothing that I could add that hasn’t been said already. I do remember cloudless bright-blue sky that day, I do remember frantically trying to get in touch with both my husband and my sister to make sure they were ok but what I have harbored all these years is the guilt I eventually would feel when an employee interrupted me in the middle of a task I was doing (looking back on that task it was virtually meaningless in the grand scheme of what was to unfold that day) to tell me that she heard on the radio that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center and I snapped at her for breaking my concentration. In my head I saw a little Cessna-like plane with an inexperienced pilot that had lost control and accidentally clipped into one of those massive and impenetrable buildings, and I promptly went back to the task at hand unencumbered with feeling. It is from that momentary lack of feeling I will carry that guilt for the rest of my days.
And then we heard it, the announcement on the radio that a second plane had flown into the other Trade Center building and I really think at that moment we all knew that this was clearly no accident. How things unfolded after that I can’t recall, we had no TVs so we were reliant on the radio, phone-calls, and the internet. I don’t remember when I heard about the Pentagon or the plane that went down in PA, but I do remember being on the phone with my sister in New York when the first tower fell and hearing the reactions from her roommates. We were all sitting on the floor of the Director’s office in silence staring at one another and my colleague Troy asked if we could pray together, and looking back on it now I can’t think of a time in my life where I have ever wanted more to join hands with people, ANY people, and say a prayer. I will never be able to recall the words said during the prayer, but the words didn’t matter, it was the temporary joining of our souls that did. We all needed that moment together.