Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

September 11, 2001

I was in Virginia Beach on a business meeting - a line review with Coleman and the Navy. I was technically on maternity leave - Preston was 5 weeks old. This was an "overnighter". I had flown to Virginia and spent the night for an early am meeting. I had not seen my sales partner Mary since I had Preston, and we stayed up until 3 in the morning talking. On the 11th, we were in my company's satellite office. A coworker burst into our meeting to tell us what had happened. Our meeting came to a halt - I remember excusing myself every 20 minutes or so to go get myself together. Hormones...nursing...not good. Once we knew we were under attack, we closed our meeting and packed up. Packed up means - packing lanterns, stoves, tearing down tents and sleeping bags. Flights had been canceled, but thankfully my boss had rented a car, which we proceeded to "borrow and cross state lines". You know, ask for forgiveness later. We got out of town around 2pm that day. I just wanted to get the heck out of Virginia Beach - lots of bridges and tunnels, and quite honestly, one our major military hubs. I was scared to death, literally. We took turns driving. My boss got tired around 1am. My turn. Those who know me well know that I am not a night owl. But I drove - through the mountains of Tennessee with more adrenaline than I had ever felt. I remember the talk radio callers volunteering to "go kick some terrorist ass". Only it was a bit more racially explicit. I drove from 1am - 6 am or so. It took 25 hours to get home. We only stopped for fuel, food and breaks. When we approached Dallas, we headed to my house first. We lived in Lewisville. The freeways were empty and the D/FW airport (practically in my backyard) was closed. When I got home, I kissed my husband and ran upstairs to see baby Preston. He was asleep in his crib, peacefully. I then saw the TV. We had been in the car for 25 hours and had not yet seen images of the attack. I sank down into my chair and wept. I was sad, tired, terrified, relieved to be home and angry all up in one. It's two days I'll never forget.

I just heard on the radio - Kidd Kraddick (don't mock me, I've listened since Jr. High) said - remember all those promises we made 10 years ago and then quickly abandoned? Like not getting mad at the driver in who cuts you off, or spending time with your family, or getting in contact with friends more often? Let's take this day to remember those promises - the pride we felt in our nation and how we felt in the days and months after the attack.

I have the George W Bush 9/11 special from National Geographic on my DVR. I haven't gotten the nerve up to watch it. It all seems so fresh in my mind. Maybe because it's been 10 years and I see a 10 year old boy sitting in front of me - the same 10 year old that drove my middle-of-the-night adrenaline. I still can't believe it happened. And yet I still wait for it to happen again. It's like we never feel truly safe again. It's why it is so important that we never forget.

1 comment:

Megan said...

Ug. I willingly chose yesterday to pretend it wasn't 9/11. I know that is bad, but my location sort of lets me do than when I want to. But after reading this, I love that you have everything about that day, those first days still fresh. I was sitting at home holding baby Eden on the couch. I was so scared. Still am, quite frankly. I was in the Tube in London a few weeks ago and got anxiety right there. It still could be anywhere, anytime. Love what you wrote Kidd K. said about living today as we resolved to then. He rocks. So do you, friend.