I remember where I was and what I was doing when the first plane hit the Twin Towers on 9/11. I’m sure that everyone does. I was at my daughter’s school, running the big Fall fundraiser – magazine subscriptions. It was a crazy, busy time with all my fellow PTA women talking at once. We were excited about how successful the fundraiser was going. I was the PTA Secretary and the pressure was on to make it count as it funded most of our year.
We had a small TV in the corner of the room we were using and it was tuned to something of which I have no idea now. Then the first plane hit and we all stood still and watched the footage over and over again. We were shocked and torn apart by the horror, but the news commentator calmed us down. He thought it was a small plane and a big mistake. Soon we all realized it was no mistake when the second plane hit the other tower. Some of us were crying and some of us were frozen, unable to move. Our thoughts too confused to figure out how it happened. A group of my fellow helpers ran to their children’s classrooms and took them home. They knew people who were flying or worked in New York. We all took a different path that day but we all wanted to be near our families.
I checked on my daughter who was in 6th grade, her first year in Middle School. She was fine and with a few friends that had stayed. They ended up staying the day in whatever classroom they had been in when it started. She wanted to remain at school for the rest of the day, so I agreed. I didn’t want to make it a big thing and scare her more than she already was, so I stayed close by working in the office.
What I do remember is that no one knew how to act that day. My husband was out of town at a business meeting. I couldn’t get hold of him for a long time due to busy circuits on the cell towers. I was frantic, but kept telling myself he was fine. He was in Florida and far away from New York but none of us knew what was going to happen next. It seemed that nowhere was safe at the moment. Finally we connected and he told me he was on his way home, driving and not flying, thank goodness.
None of it made sense to any of us. We weren’t ready for this type of tragedy on our shores. As the horrors of the day unfolded, we all made it home and hugged each other. I’m not sure we ate anything for dinner that night. But the fact that we made it home was a miracle to all three of us. There were so many brave, normal, loving people who didn’t make it home that day. I will never forget that day and where I was when it happened. And I will never forget that in the end, the love and unity of the American people won out. That’s the only way to make it through an unbelievable horror, that’s the way we made it through the days that followed September 11th, 2001. Love, kindness, and looking out for our neighbors and fellow countrymen and women.