9-11-01…What I Was Doing

11 09 2006

You always hear older adults talk about where they were when Kennedy was shot, or maybe your grandparents talk about where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I have two of those stories so far in my life, one of which I’ll share today (the other is when the Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986); September 11, 2001.

I woke up on the morning of the 11th around 6:45 a.m. (living in my apartment on Zelda Road at the time) with a rather large headache. After trying to block out the light and the pain, without the effort of getting up to take some Tylenol, I eventually fell back asleep. About an hour later I woke up with no improvement in my brain pain and decided at that point I wasn’t going to work that day. I dozed back off, and woke up again around 8:25 a.m. and turned on the TV while laying in bed. The shock of what I saw unfold before me for those hours that morning is a feeling I won’t forget. It is a lot like the feeling you have during a bad dream that once you wake up you have to take a minute to realize it wasn’t actually real. After watching in disbelief for what seemed like minutes, was actually about 3 hours, I went up to First UMC in Cloverdale where Darrell and Pat (and Lane may have been there as well) were watching it in the attic, we all basically just sat there for a long time not saying anything and at the same time not really sure if there was anything to be said.

I remember the church (at this time I worked at Dalraida UMC) put together an “open sanctuary” for most of tha week if anyone wanted to stop in to pray or be with other Christians, and the church as constantly busy most of that week. I remember thinking, even in the midst of that terrible time, how I was disappointed that all these people would show up at church together (as well they should have…that’s not the disappointing part) when something bad happens, but when life is good, or just normal they don’t really care whether they are there or not. Later I felt guilty for being critical of people in such a time, but maybe that was just my emotions surfacing and how I chose to cope.

Seeing the footage now still evokes some of the most vivid memories of my life, and I’m sure years from now I will be the “older adult” talking about where I was when…




2 responses

12 09 2006
The Bean

I was getting ready for Biology with Dr. Dudley with the Today show on in the background. Like you said, it was about 8:30 or so when I turned it on and only the first tower had been hit. I was sitting there watching the news, horror struck, when I saw in the corner of the screen another airplane. I remember thinking, “is that a news plane or do they even realize there is something there???” It was then that I actually witnessed, on television, the second tower get crashed into. I still get chills thinking about it. The volleyball cluster was right next door so I went to see if they were watching and we all just sat there. Stunned in silence. About 9:00 we went to biology to find the door locked and a note directing us to the Chapel where big screens were set up broadcasting the news. I remember the school stopped classes for 2 days to help students living on base and others find a place to stay or contact family. I went downstairs the next morning early to get a copy of USA Today. I still have it.

20 09 2006

I was at work (at HOPE Project). I called a parent to confirm my first appointment, and she said, “Are you watching the news? There was an accident. A plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” My first thought was, what IDIOT pilot didn’t see the WORLD TRADE CENTER, for pete’s sake? I was wrong, obviously. I spent the rest of the morning going from house to house, watching the news with the parents of my kids. The strangest moment was when I was on the Eastern Blvd at lunch time, and there were no cars on the road. It felt apocalyptic.

I spent the afternoon in an ICU waiting room, waiting for my grandmother to die. They kept showing the clips of smoke and debris pouring through an alley, and people trying to outrun it. The same clip was in Independence Day, which was filmed 5 years earlier. Does anyone else remember this? It was surreal. After a few hours, Allison and I changed the station. I think we watched Gilligan’s Island, or something like it. We had too much death in our own family – we couldn’t keep watching it on TV.

I went to Icthus that night; most of you were with me.

Sad to remember. I’m glad that day is behind us.

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