Monday, September 11, 2006


"Where were you?" "What were you doing?" These used to be questions that were easily answered by my parents' generation, "What were you doing? Where were you [when you heard Kennedy had been shot]? Now these questions have a meaning for me and my generation. They no longer refer to a distant past, but a much more recent and painful event in our own lives. One that we would prefer not to believe happened. One that in some ways was more like a movie than real life. An event that did not just make history, but changed the course of history. "Where were you?" "What were you doing?" Eventually my children are going to ask me these questions. How will I ever be able to convey the magnitude of shock, horror and grief? How can I possibly express my fear that this will happen again in their lifetimes? How can I reassure them once they know this can happen? I guess the next question is "What will I do?" For now, I hope and I pray, and, most of all, I remember. Where was I? What was I doing? I was 7 months pregnant. My first child was due in exactly 2 months. I was sick for most of my pregnancy and mornings were the worst. I had arranged with my boss that I come in later in the day - a little extra sleep seemed to help. I got up around 8:30 a.m. or so, (threw up a time or three) and got ready for work. It was about 9:45 when I got in the car and turned on the radio. The first thing I heard was that a plane had crashed into the pentagon. I remember my first thought was "Oh my God. It's another McVeigh." I called my husband, horrified. He knew. I asked why he hadn't called and he said he'd assumed I was listening. He told me about the WTC. I was so wrong. It was much worse than I'd first imagined. When I arrived at work, I was able to check the internet some. Pictures were slow in coming, and the newsites were slammed. A couple of people were able to grab the photos and e-mailed them around the office along with status reports they were coming across. Some of my colleagues were worried and afraid it would happen here. They wanted to go home. I remember telling someone who asked why I wasn't going home - our building was too short for us to be in danger. I know it sounds like I was being a smart ass, but I wasn't. It was just logical to me. I decided to stay at the office for a little longer after we were told we could go home. As long as I was at the office, I didn't have to deal with it. I didn't have to decide when to turn off the television - knowing I wouldn't be able to; T.V. wasn't available at the office. I don't remember being afraid for the baby. I worry some now, though. Too many have forgotten the anger and outrage. Too many are more interested in playing the blame game than in rooting out a pernicious evil. Too many are more interested in blaming America than in understanding that this type of hate has nothing to do with us as a people, our government's policies or our culture. It is simply hate with no explanation. Too many would prefer to use the attacks of September 11, 2001 for their own purposes, be they political or personal. Too many would prefer this country divided and in danger than united against the threat these people pose. What happened to United We Stand?


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