I was at work. Getting keys ready for two bus groups that were arriving that day. Mrs. A. came in hollering at me for not having the television on. A plane had just flown into the World Trade Center.
I turned the tv on and saw a gaping hole in the building. Smoke was billowing out of it. I turned to Rodney and commented on how could a pilot not see those huge buildings in front of him. He commented back that it probably wasn’t an accident. As he said that we both gasped as another plane slammed into the other tower. He is right. This isn’t an accident.
I called downstairs to our accountant who doesn’t have a tv and told her to come upstairs. By this time most of the guests who were in the dining room had come out to gather around the tv and watch with horror. Two were crying and frantically trying to reach family members on their cell phones, but already the lines were all jammed.
I called Jenn at the bank and told her what was going on. I kept updating her by email when something new would happen. I remember the plane hitting the pentagon.
Felicia (the accountant) and I stood at the desk staring at that tv all morning. Boss went and got our American Flag and put it next to the front desk. We listened as the told us another plane had gone down in Pennsylvania, and Googled where the town of Shanksville was compared to us. I am glad we did. Within the hour we were getting phone calls from the families of our arriving buses asking us if we were near the crash site, would their families be safe with us?
I spent some time on the computer, talking with internet friends. Worrying with several that lived in New York City. Wondering if this was the last bad news we were to hear that day.
Felicia and I were staring at the tv, not really seeing when I realized the towers were starting to look different. Did the tower just collapse? No, it couldn’t have. But it did. We watched as people ran through the streets crying.
I checked in with Lyz who was on her way to class. Chris had learned the news from Howard Stern. That evening Jenn and Chris would pack emergency bags and map out an escape plan, our meeting place being Daytona Beach, should things get worse.
I worried a lot about my family. They live in Dearborn, Michigan. It is known as the biggest concentration of Middle Easterners outside of the Middle East. I didn’t worry that a plane would crash there, or that it would be bombed. I worried that there would be backlash and protests in the streets.
My mom called that evening to tell me that my uncle had passed away of a heart attack that afternoon. I’m not sure if the stress of the days events caused it or not, and I wasn’t very close to him, but it was sad all the same.
I remember at one point sitting at home being tired of watching the smoke and the plane crashes over and over again. I flipped to Food Network for some comfort television. It was off the air. There was a message up that the Food Network family was thinking of all of the families effected by the days actions. I flipped through more channels, they were all like that. If they weren’t showing the horrible news, they were off the air with messages of hope.
The next evening we got together with Lyz and Chris and went to a candle lighting ceremony. It was peaceful, beautiful, and so sad. One candle is still embedded into the bed of Jenn’s truck.
That day will be remembered in all of our hearts. I remember. I will never forget.