I remember exactly what I was doing on 9/11.
I remember exactly what I was doing on 9/11.
Do you remember where you were that fateful day?
It’s very surreal to remember.
My son is in his mid 20s now; but at the time, he was a very normal little boy, 6 years old, in the 1st grade. He was enrolled at a private school in Clearwater, Florida.
We were living the all American life of 5 day workweeks, football Sundays, men on the bbq, kids playing in the neighborhood, women drinking wine and making family memories.
I remember, life was good. Very good.
At the time, my husband was a network engineer with a very good full time Job, and I worked part time as a paralegal in a solo attorney’s office. Although I only had one boss, we worked in a shared building, so I had a few coworkers, about ten people total, 3 of which were attorneys.
I only worked part time so I could afford to pay for my son’s school and I could still have the afternoons off to pick him up and help him do his homework. I wanted to be a hands-on Mom. I have always been a believer in stay at home moms and family dinners. Family dinners were always important to me.
I remember how I believed in the system. I remember how I thought cases were judged on merit, the system was just and it worked and I believed everything I read and saw on TV without question.
I had not yet been tainted by the hard reality of the system and it’s flaws and corruption. I was not yet cynical. I was the definition of sheeple.
I arrived at work each day at about 830am and left about 2:30pm. September 11, 2001 was no different. Until it was.
I remember, just before 9am, my husband called me and said “did you hear the news?”
I was confused.
“What news?” I asked.
“A plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Turn on the radio, it’s all they’re talking about.”
“ok I will” and with that, we hung up. I was curious but not really alarmed. After all, planes crash, it happens. Of course this was after only the first plane hit, not both.
I got up from my desk in my office that was painted dark green, positioned first down a short hallway, tucked back between the front lobby and the lunch room.
I remember walking up front to the receptionists desk where I found about half of my coworkers huddled around a static-sounding old clock radio. I remember the looks of disbelief on their faces.
“I just heard about a plane crash…?” I began to say..
They shushed me, quickly and obviously telling me to be quiet and listen.
Sure enough I heard it, the plane had hit the first tower. How awful, I remember thinking. About that time two of the attorneys we worked for pulled into the parking lot, so we scattered.
Still, only one plane had hit at that point.
I remember that I did notice my boss took a little extra time leaving his vehicle to come inside. I had begun my days’ work, at that point it was still business as usual.
I worked for an elderly man from Israel. He was a devoutly Jewish man, who was a brilliant Harvard trained attorney. Our area of practice was mostly personal injury with some civil trial litigation and family law. He was in his early 80s at the time and a very kind man, with allot of wisdom to share. I was his only employee besides the shared receptionist. She also worked for a real estate title attorney housed in the same building.
I was in my 20’s, young and just married, raising my young son.
I worked there for 8 years and I was dutiful and loyal. All fuss aside that morning, I had work to do, and the morning must continue despite the external excitements on the news.
Still, when my boss walked in I exclaimed, “did you hear about New York? A plane crashed. ?”
He said very calmly, Yes, but it was two planes….We are under attack.”
I remember thinking ‘what does he mean by that? Who’s under attack?’ I didn’t have a radio at my desk and this was before smart phones.
The static sounding radio was inaudible all the way from the front to my desk, so it wasn’t until lunchtime that I knew more about what happened that morning.
I remember the last two hours of my workday were painfully slow. I only knew a piece of what had happened, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what my boss had said.
“America is under attack..? By who? & How,?”
The fearful anticipation of getting to a radio was chewing at me. I was scared from not knowing what was going on and having allot of friends who are from New York.
That afternoon I picked up my son and we stopped at a bar and grill near my house to see my best friend who worked there. She was from Albany. New York.
When I walked in the restaurant, every TV was tuned in to the news and everyone in the place was watching. Some seemed to be in shock. Tears rolled down many faces. No jukebox was playing, No laughter or the cracking of balls on the billiards table like normal afternoons.
I remember how silent everyone was that day- all the patrons staring at the TV and the repeating voices of the news anchors talking about the first and second plane hitting the two towers, and a third plane hitting the Pentagon and the towers falling and people jumping to their deaths to keep from burning alive. I remember the fourth plane that the passengers took down in a martyrdom act of selfless bravery.
I remember when I saw the images of horror for the first time. Images of the towers collapsing, the Pentagon with a large hole blown in it and smoke smoldering from the fires that incinerated the plane that crashed into it and the debris field of the crash by Camp David where the passengers thwarted that flight from going to DC. The pictures of the hijacker’s and Osama Bin Laden… The most wanted man who was responsible for planning the attack.
I, too, began to cry, and watched intently.
Over the next few days and weeks that was all I could think about. That was all that anyone talked about. It became a war on terror. We were out for justice and revenge and hunting Bin Laden and Al Queda, the terrorist group that carried out the attacks.
CNN was always on my TV at home.
I bought an American flag for my house and hung it over my garage. I had a bumper sticker with a flag on it for my car. A flag for my car window. I was supporting the troops. I was supporting our President.
I wanted to share in the voice of the patriotic support for my country and honor the first responders and New York Police and Firemen who ran to their death trying to save people on September 11th.
I didn’t know about building 7 yet.
I didn’t consider that there existed political powers that could be using the attack to further their own agendas.
I thought Clinton was a good President who balanced the budget. I didn’t care if he had an affair, because so long as the budget was balanced, and the state of the union was strong, he was doing a good job.
I didn’t particularly care for President Bush, but I didn’t need to like him. After all, I was young and didn’t follow politics that much. I didn’t think I needed to. My life was going great.
I believed we were in good hands as us citizens. The government cared about us, right? We were, after all, a country built on integrity and freedom, right? Home of the brave? A democracy, not tyranny. Not here in the United States, right?
At the time there was no swamp to drain. Yet.
I knew nothing about the evils of the world. The mass surveillance, NSA or the New World Order. I had no idea there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the attack.
I didn’t really care at the time about Afghanistan. I never had supported the idea of war before that, but after 9/11, that changed. I was scared and angry, but even moreso I was proud to be an American.
I was fully in support of the u.s. troops who would hunt down and find Bin Laden and make him pay for the September 11th attacks. Who wouldn’t be?
20 years later I can’t believe how much my views have changed.
The harsh reality of life since then has regrettably changed everything i remembered of that day. … Of that time. Everything I knew about life. … was a lie.
I watched ‘Turning Point: 9/11 And The War On Terror’ , be the new documentary series on Netflix. Although I suspect much of it is probably tailored more towards the mainstream narrative, being Netflix and all. Though it was still very enlightening to see how that Biden has recently pulled troops from Afghanistan and the takeover by the Taliban has begun.
Now I see more of what’s probably happening, or what did happen, and, well, maybe what could happen…I think…and all I can think now is I wish I only knew life in the things as I remember them. Through the naive eyes of a time of innocence. As a young American girl with hopes for her future and her family’s future. Haplessly working for the weekend and partying when the Tampa Bay Bucs made it to the Superbowl.
I remember a time before all the big tech owned and controlled everything and the spying eyes of the internet and the shadow government were not okay but unstoppable so nobody tried. I remember a time before the political agendas became so ridiculously far to the left and to the right. Basically, far from anything true or on our side, or even reasonable. Before the three ring circus it is today. I remember when journalism required a college degree not just a smartphone and opinions.
A time when kids were kids and parents didn’t have to worry about masks and pandemics and vaccinations and more, I remember believing in things, in life. In lies.
Before the Patriot Act took our freedoms quietly out from under our noses without us even noticing, I remember the feeling of feeling safe. Of feeling content and looking forward to Friday, dreading Monday.
I remember being proud to be an American on that day September 11,2001, that day that changed me, it changed everything.
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