Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 11th


September 11, 2011

Like most people in the country this day has very strong
emotional thread running through it. In fact, I’m a little tearful as I type
this. 10 years ago today America changed, but I like to think of it in a good
way. This was the day we were reminded of the indomitable spirit of this
country. The firemen, police and everyday person risked their own lives to
protect and save others. Since then we have not let the fear twist us, as one
might after being hit that way, we protected ourselves and our friends so that
this won’t happen again. I’m not saying all of the changes have been great, I’m
really sick of the “naked” machines in airports and am glad I don’t travel like
I use to. All and all, we are a stronger country.

Like many Americans, I have a story from that day. We had
just moved my brother and his now wife up to New York on August 18th
of 2001. It was filled with hope, dreams and adventure. September 11, 2001 was
a day like any other day at its start. My mom had told me my bro was starting
his job in the city that day and would let us know how it went later. I showed
up at the firm I worked for on the 16th floor downtown San Antonio.
One of the guys listened to the radio and turned around and told us that the
first plane has hit. It was unimaginable. It must have been a serious accident.
And then he turns around and says a second plane had hit. Ok, this might not
have been an accident. After that it seemed to just be raining planes. The
Pentagon and field in the middle of nowhere was next. All those people, all
those lives, business men and women on their way to work just like everyone
else. My mind started to race, what about my brother!?! Where was he? Did he
get to work? Was he home safe? My coworkers told me to suck it up and work. I was
in my mid 20’s, I couldn’t work! All I could think of was my brother being
safe. I’m his big sister, I have to protect him! It’s been my job since we were
kids! If anyone messed with him I would take care of it…not a very intimidating
bean pole with unruly hair, but I had a fierce attitude and wouldn’t let anyone
mess with my family! I was ready to drive up there that day since there were no
planes. I wanted to see him and make sure he was ok. The buildings feel after
that. My mom called and said she received an email from him saying he was ok,
but surrounded by people covered in dust and other things trying to get a hold
of their families too. He worked in a tech center with computers and email was
the only way to get a message out. The email wasn’t enough for me. I had to
hear is voice to make sure he was ok. The day went on and I was at the office
all day. Drove home and started to dial. I spoke with friends that have family
in NY too. I dialed and dialed my bro’s number. Busy, busy busy. I finally got
through and cried as I talked to him. They had call waiting and he asked me to
stay on so he could talk to other people. If you got a call you stayed on so you
could talk to others. He had walked home over the Brooklyn Bridge. We thought
he might have been under the WTC when the first plane hit and didn’t know
anything had happened until he came out from the subway. He was ok, tired,
beaten, but ok. All I wanted to do was be there and hug him and make it be ok. Obviously
it wasn’t going to help, but it might have. We told each other we loved one
another and hung up.

I hadn’t seen any
images of that day, didn’t want to. I remember watching the Challenger accident
over and over and I just didn’t need to watch this. It took days before I did
watch, and it certainly didn’t make me feel better. For weeks after we would
call and talk for a little while to make sure everyone was ok. They talked
about how it was still smoky and dusty and full of the unknown. I went to DC in
February of 2002 for my new job. I hadn’t flown since August of the previous
year. No one was allowed to be on the gangway anymore. Little kids won’t get to
run up to their daddy’s like I did when mine came home from Korea. All of a
sudden there were long lines, security dogs and pimply faced teens with machine
guns. I felt like I was back in Germany.  There had been a raid on the hotel I stayed in
that morning because someone was looking out the windows too long. It was
strange. At the end of the week I hoped a train and went up to New York. It was
different. It was sad and dark and there was something missing from the
skyline. They toured me around, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and
the usual tourist traps. I hugged the stuffing out of my family and didn’t want
to leave.

So many lives changed that day. Really, the entire country
changed. Kids born now won’t know what this day means to us. We can teach them,
talk about it, read it in books. Much like reading about the Revolutionary War,
to them it’s just words on paper. I hope we continue to remember this day in
the country. Not calling it “day of service” but September 11th. Because
that’s what it is. That day is fresh in so many people’s memories. Just about
everyone has a story like the one I told. The biggest difference between the
Revolutionary War and September 11th is the internet, the individual
stories are going to be told as long as we have electricity and internet.
People who have stories like mine can tell them and they can be easily found in
searches for years to come. I hope we remember the people who died and those
who made the ultimate sacrifice to save us for a long time to come. I know, I will
tell my children and hose to come on this day every year I’m alive. And will
end it with God Bless America.