Just like you, I will never forget where I was on September 11th, 2001. That day will forever be etched in our brains- such a terrible day and what seems like the beginning of an awful string of terrorist attacks on countries all over the world. At least for me, it was the beginning of feeling so much hate in this world.
Jason and I had only been dating about 6 months. I was without a job at the time, and had a job interview that morning in Irvine, California. I have no idea what company it was for and I obviously didn’t get the job, but I do remember hearing a lot of mumbling and commotion in the office building. Something had happened, but we weren’t sure what. They cut the interview short and said they were closing for the day and to go home. It was confusing to say the least.
After the interview, I got back into my car to drive home. I was listening to Howard Stern- like I often do- and they were talking about a plane crashing into one of the twin towers- but I just didn’t get the magnitude of what was happening. I’m not sure anyone did at that point? Nothing like this had happened before so it was hard to imagine it. It was still too soon to be able to see all the pictures on the news that are now burned in our brains.
Once I got home, we had nothing else to do so we did what we always did- we went to the mall. (I am very embarrassed to tell you this.) It had not hit us yet that this tragedy was so vast. We just didn’t know. And, nothing like this had happened in our lifetime, so we just had no clue.
We parked at the mall and walked up to the door and there was a hand written sign taped to the door saying the mall was closed. I can’t remember the wording, but it basically said they were closed due to what we now know was a terrorist attack. It was then that I realized this was HUGE. It wasn’t the mall being closed that made me realize this, but it was knowing that businesses were closing early and sending employees to be with their loved ones that made me see just how big of a tragedy this was becoming. We immediately went back home.
Once we got home, we turned on the TV to watch the news. We were glued to it- like everyone else- for days. We were scared. Who did this? Why did someone do this? What else is going to happen? What did these people do to deserve this? It really made me question my safety and that of my family.
I like to believe our country is stronger now than before these attacks. I also want to believe that this has brought out the good in people. It’s strange how that happens- people want to help others no matter what their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. after a tragedy. I have a hard time understanding why that goes away so quickly. When there is a terrorist attack, or a giant hurricane, or forest fire everyone wants to help. But then the newness of that goes away and many people go back to being angry and bitter. What would this world be like if we could continue to look past things that we may not agree with and realize we’re all human beings doing the best we can?
So, today we remember all of the nearly 3000 people who died that awful day. We remember the first responders who didn’t give any thought to what they were running into and did all they could to help others. We remember the families who lost their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children.
America is always strong when tragedy hits. It’s days like this that I have hope that we can put away our disagreements and anger and become one country again.