Monday, September 11, 2006

Where was I?

In talking about modern American History people will ask you (depending on your age)~

Where were you when Pearl Harbor was bombed?

What were you doing when President Kennedy was assassinated?

And for my generation,

Where were you on 9/11?

My story below the cut
I was home in Glen Burnie Maryland, painting miniatures. That's what I did for a living at that time. My husband, Aaryk had taken the day off and was painting with me. We had sent our son Brian off to school and were listening to something on a CD.

I got a phone call from my Dad. His voice was a little shaky, and I thought, "Oh no, who died?!" But he just wanted to make sure we were alright. I assured him we were and asked, "Why?" He said, "They've bombed the Pentagon and the World Trade Center." At that point I reassured him of our safety, hung up and went to tell Aaryk. It didn't make sense, those two places were hundreds of miles apart, he said.

I quickly found a news station on the radio and we got the whole picture. I was riveted to the radio (we didn't get TV reception there). I heard the newscasters gasp as the towers fell, trying desperately to picture what was happening. I remember wanting to go get Brian from school, but Aaryk telling me he was safe there and it would be a zoo trying to get to him (as many other parents were thinking the same thing). I waited, I paced, I listened, I prayed. I got no more painting done that day. I got online briefly to let friends and family know that we were all okay. We had a dial-up connection and had been asked to keep the phone lines clear, so I couldn't even get my news and pictures there.

Brian got home at the usual time and I remember giving him a hug like never before. Aaryk and I went out to the ABC store that evening and they had a little TV on. That was the first video footage I saw of the attack. I stood there and watched as they showed the attacks and the collapse and the wreckage over and over again. Aaryk finally said, "Enough" and made me leave.

It was a week or so later that we finally felt comfortable using the phone lines for any length, and so I began collecting images on my computer, of the attack, the aftermath, the memorials. I had the radio on constantly, not wanting to miss anything else that was going on. It was my way of dealing with it.

I also got heavily involved in emergency preparedness. I had our emergency box in the car, bottled water stored under the sink, and duffel bags ready with clothes, important papers, and such. I prepared two little phone books, one for me and one for Brian that had all the numbers for friends and family. We had a plan on what to do and who to call if we had to evacuate and were separated. I made sure he kept it in his school backpack along with some extra money. Only then was I really able to get on with other parts of my life.

You have to remember that we were just south of Baltimore, While not like living in NYC, we were close enough to DC to feel like we were in the middle of everything. Especially with the anthrax scares that followed. I was certain that we'd only seen the beginning and the other shoe would drop any day. I'm not sure my Phoenix friends really understood how badly it affected me, being so close to it all. These days, I have my emergency plans, and can quickly gather up things to leave if I have to, but I don't keep a supply of bottled water under the sink, or non-perishable food in the trunk.

I will never forget what I was doing that day, how it changed mej, how it changed everything.

I can forgive, but I will NEVER forget.



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