My 9/11 story is one of luck and gratitude.
I spent September 11, 2001 at home with my newborn daughter and husband who should have been at work that day in a building across from the World Trade Center in New York City. He stayed home with me ‘just one more day’ to help with a colicky newborn. Up early feeding the baby, I usually sat myself in the recliner watching television to pass the time. I don’t even remember what I was watching before the news station cut in and announced a plane had crashed into one of the towers. Once I realized where and what building it hit, I ran to get my husband up. We watched together as the second plane hit. And the third in DC. And the fourth in a field in Pennsylvania. Now I remember every minute of every day for the weeks that followed.
My husband spent the day split between watching television with me and chatting online with the spouses of old co-workers looking for some information on their husbands. Sadly none of the news would be good. Based on when the planes hit and the towers fell, my husband would have lost his life beneath the buildings on his way to work. It took years before either of us were comfortable working in New York again.
If he had been at work that day instead of home with his family, chances are things would be very different in my life right now.
This past Friday our daughter came home from school anxious to tell us about everything she had learned in school about the 9/11 attacks. She decided to tell me this in the car on our way out someplace, and it took every ounce of strength I have not to break down and cry in the car.
“Mom, did you know that planes hit the two big buildings and killed people in the planes and at their jobs?”
“Mom, it was real, I watched it on a video.”
“Mom, did you know there was a forth plane that crashed in Pennsylvania and those people took back the plane from the terrorists and were so brave to crash the plane all by themselves instead of hurting others?”
“Mom, why would someone want to hurt all those people?”
Yes. I know. I know that it happened. I saw it on the news, and saw the smoke outside myself. I lost friends. I know why people want to hurt others, too, but I don’t want to tell her all of it. Not yet. Not at 10 years old. Not ever, but this isn’t possible any longer.
I know why I haven’t sat her down and talked to her specifically about the attacks. It has existed her entire life. This is her status quo. It is too hard for me to speak out loud. I don’t know what I will do tomorrow, the 10th anniversary of the attacks. None of this is about me, it is all about my two kids at this point. Teaching them to honor and remember something that they have no memory of — but I do.
Ten years later we look at our smart and beautiful 10 year old daughter and our (almost) 4 year old son with amazement and thanks – and know if my husband had not skipped work that day our son wouldn’t even exist.
Very Nice Lynette… So true…
It’s complex… In a way – like we thought about our grandparents who lived through world wars… And rolled our eyes at the long stories told. Yet… Our children are now telling the stories back to us.
My friends and family were there. They just had skipped out to go eat something a couple miles away.
I was awakened in the early morning hours that my (now ex) husband called frantic saying – he thought something was going on and I had better watch the television. That he worked for NOAA and everything had just gotten shut down, one plane went through the Towers.) I turned on the television after grabbing my baby daughter who was like 4… and watched yawning – until the news reporter started screaming and swearing (now edited video footage) from across the hill – AS THE SECOND PLANE hit the towers. We witnessed live the second plane.
I remember clearly thinking it was the end of the world as we know it.
And it has been.
Everything has changed from that point of time.
I often wonder now… If I had listened to my grandfather just a little differently – knowing that it could happen to me or others around me — in this time frame… if I would have felt different.
My grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, having actually worked in concentration camps as a young girl serving meals to the soldiers. Only once in her life did she tell me anything to do with her life then. For my high school graduation she and I were going to travel to Poland to visit relatives. We never did take the trip because she had unexpected surgery, and she never did get to go back to her home country. Twenty years later she’s barely still with us, and she may have even forgotten most of her memories at this point, but you can see the war in her.
My mom witnessed race riots in the 60s and men walking down the main street of her hometown with shotguns ready for a fight.
We have 9/11.
I pray to God my own kids don’t have anything like the generations before have seen.
Here’s to spending one more day. Great story. You are fortunate. Blessings! @JudyMartin8
Your story is one in which your children with share with their children and each generation thereafter. It is important because it teaches us not to take each other or our freedom for granted but to savor every moment. God Bless you and all of those you will relive those images of 9/11.
Precisely… We have Vietnam…. But that was not at home… (at least not to Americans… )
We have the Gulf War – Not at home again… to Americans.
But this — this was on our own soil.
Like Pearl Harbor.
And life will NEVER be the same.
SIGH – this…… THIS is why PEACE is MANDATORY for the race of humans.
My 11-year-old also came home from school with similar stories (wanting to hear her own as she knew she was alive at the time) and I couldn’t stop the tears. We were lucky; we did not know anyone personally who experienced the attacks. We knew people who knew people, though, and it was hard to watch them experience the pain. I know now what it must have been like for my friends to watch me in pain when we lost a family friend (who was like a brother to me) on the Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland when I was a Freshman in college. That also was a terrorist attack and it was all over the news. For many years, the media would mark that anniversary and it hurt to be reminded every time. Mercifully, the media stopped noting the anniversary eventually. I can’t imagine what it’s like for victims’ families living with the 9/11 attacks, year after year. The massive loss of life dictates that none of us will never stop noting that awful day, and honestly, I’m not sure that’s such a great thing sometimes…
I haven’t told my daughter about that terrible night we lost our dear, dear, 21 year old friend to a terrorist’s bomb and I could barely tell her the facts about that day 10 years ago. But I like your suggestion. To write. I’m a writer! Why didn’t I think of that? Genius, Lynnette.