Sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday. Other times it seems like a lifetime ago. Nonetheless, it’s hard to believe two decades have passed.
I’ll never forget the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. It was a clear, beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and a hint that fall was just around the corner. Life was busy in the Hall household. My youngest niece, who was more or less living with us at the time, was getting married that weekend. She had plans to go shopping for last-minute wedding details.
Both my husband and I went to work as did my brother. At the time, I was employed by a small branch of a medical equipment company that also had visiting nurses. That particular Tuesday, I was alone much of the morning—the nurses were out with patients, it was the office manager’s morning off, and the lab tech didn’t come in because she was sick.
Shortly before nine (Central time), the owner made his usual stop before going to the main office. Brian was always cheerful and upbeat, but this day he had a strange look on his face.
“I just heard on the radio a plane hit one of the World Trade Center towers.”
My immediate thought was an accident involving a small plane. But Brian’s next words shocked me to the core.
“Another plane hit the other tower a few minutes earlier.”
I knew then it was terrorists. Immediately, I turned on a radio just as a report came of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. Fear gripped me. America was under attack. Where would these people strike next? Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles? Would I ever see my family again?
I immediately called my husband who had already heard the news. I phone my niece. Needless to say, she was scared. Since my brother taught at our local high school, I couldn’t disturb him during class time.
After my boss left, I took a small TV/VCR combo and put it in my office. I saw both towers fall. Knew when all planes were grounded. Watched the reports of Air Force One crisscrossing the country en route back to Washington. Heard news of the fourth plane crashing in Pennsylvania.
Not one single customer came into the office that day. Everyone stayed home likely glued to their television sets.
That night, my husband, brother, and I stood outside looking at the night skies. We are on a direct path for airline flights from Dallas-Fort Worth International. It was so strange not to see a single plane in the sky. “This has never happened in our lifetime,” my brother said.
Life went on. My niece’s wedding went as planned. America survived the attacks. There was a renewed sense of patriotism during those days.
Six years ago, I was able to visit the Pentagon Memorial. It was a very moving experience. My brother said the same thing when he visited ground zero in New York City.
September 11, 2001, is forever in the back of my mind. I’m reminded when I look at the clock and it just happens to be 9:11 in the morning or at night. When I think of our emergency response number. If I happen to check my word count to find I’ve written exactly 911 words.
Memories of that day are painful, especially for those who lost friends and family in the attacks. But the 2,977 innocent people who died deserve to be remembered.