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Friday, September 11, 2015

Sometimes, you just need to tell the story. September 11th.

I was asleep.  My six week old baby lay in his cradle next to me.  The phone rang, jolting me awake.  It was my husband.  He was calling to tell me about the first plane that flew into the World Trade Center.  I watched the news for only a few moments, and realized I was witnessing an act of terrorism and an historic event.  My other children were two and a half and four.  I watched the rest of the day in absolute horrific amazement.

At the time, we lived in Nashville, Tennessee, very near the airport and National Guard Armory.  Low flying planes and helicopters flying overhead were a regular occurrence.  That morning, the skies were empty and eerily silent as all flights nationwide had been grounded.  I never imagined the sounds of jets flying over my home would be a comfort.  Ordinarily, they were an annoyance and a reason to pause phone conversations.  I would have loved to hear the normal sounds of air traffic and erase the horrible events of the day.

So many thoughts crossed my mind.  How far reaching were these attacks?   Where were my family members?  After calling my Dad and my sister, some of these anxieties were calmed.  My brother-in-law had been flying into New York on business that morning.  His flight was diverted and put down elsewhere.  Finding transportation home was a nightmare for him.  According to the FAA, 4,000 flights were grounded that day.  All these unfortunate travelers then had to secure a way to either reach their original destination or go home.  Fortunately, my brother-in-law was able to rent a car and make a very long drive home.

Later in the week, I talked with my brother.  I asked him where he was on Tuesday.  He casually mentioned he was in the air on his way to New York as well.  He hadn't been traveling for work recently, so his news shocked me.  In retrospect, neither my brother or brother-in-law were in danger that morning. But the unpredictability of  terror attacks fueled everyone's anxiety.  It frightened me to know the people I love and care about were even close to this event.

While talking on the phone with my husband later that morning, I asked if he was going to come home-fearing for his safety.  He was somewhat incredulous I felt he needed to be home.  I wanted my little family together and as safe as we could possibly be.  I had even wondered that morning, if our water would be safe to drink.  When terrorists want to end the lives of as many people as possible, water seems like a natural choice to me.  At that time, no one knew the extent these attacks.   Thank God, I was wrong about it.  Looking back, I was a sleep deprived, saturated in postpartum hormones, mother of three-and in particular,  a six week old baby.  All we had built together could be wiped out so easily. 

I watched the news most of the days following September 11th.   My four year old, inadvertently absorbed as much as he was able.  He was angry, but in a sad very controlled manner.  Bin Laden's image was shown over and over and he had seen it many times.  My little son said he was angry with the "man in the dress" and wanted to "send planes to hurt him".  We all wanted to hurt him.  My son both amazed me and broke my heart with his comprehension of everything that happened.  As the weeks following September 11th unfolded, the rest of the country's sentiments matched my son's. And well, we all know how Bin Laden's story ended.

Today, as I watch the 14th Anniversary coverage of September 11th., the same tears fell for the same reasons as when this day first occurred.  So many lives were lost and changed forever.  Two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-seven innocent people.

Thankfully, we have risen from those ashes.  We stand together and sing God Bless America, hold our hands over our hearts and stand strong against the dark and evil forces that changed us forever.  My flag flies proudly every day.  I am a patriot.

While attending our kid's high school football game last fall, the soldier in the photo sat down in front of me.  We all stood as The Star Spangled Banner began to play. .  The sight of this man in his uniform saluting our beautiful flag brought me to tears.   It's not just this one man, but all the men and women he represents.  It's their loyalty, service and love of Country that pulls at my heart.  For, without these brave patriots, we would not exist as a nation and have the freedoms it affords us.

Blessings to all who serve to protect our great nation

I later showed this man the photo I had taken, and asked his permission to use it.  I thanked him for his service with a lump in my throat.  He was being deployed to Africa shortly after we talked.  I'm thankful to report he has returned safely to his family.

Moral Fiber!


  1. I feel like I could have written this (just not as well as you of course). I like the happy ending. Love you friend. -Katya


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