Thursday, September 11, 2008

where were you?

All day, I've been remembering this day seven years ago.

I was teaching early-morning piano lessons, I used to have some students who would come before school. My phone was ringing off the hook. I couldn't imagine who would be calling me so insistently at that time of day.

When I finished with my lessons, I sent my last student upstairs to wait for his mom, and I checked my messages. It was my s-i-l Michelle, telling me to turn on the tv.

I walked upstairs, and my student was already watching it, live. I sank down onto the couch next to him and we just sat together in stunned silence. It didn't seem real -- I was in shock, I guess. So hard to believe that something that terrible was happening in America, to America.

That student moved away and I haven't seen him in years, but today his face and his voice were before me, inexorably tied with the memories of September 11, 2001. Is that strange?

Max commented to me tonight that the History channel had been broadcasting programs about 9/11 all day. I asked him if he remembered it -- he was only 6 at the time. He said he remembered seeing in on TV a lot, and a broadcast from the governor of Utah that they saw at school, but he didn't remember being really frightened.

I remember. I was frightened.

So where were you?

16 comments:

Robyn said...

I remember vividly Jill and I were both at my Mom's house- I am surprised we even saw it on tv b/c it was 9am- which is a weird time I never usually have the tv on. It was so surreal, I could not believe it was really happening. I still can't get the images out of my head b/c they replayed them over and over, so many times. I heard later that some kids were really getting disturbed by those repeated images, so sad. I don't think I will ever forget where I was and how I felt.

April said...

My heart was tender all day as well, remembering. I was recovering from an ectopic pregnancy (and a near death experience) and so it was an especially emotional time.

I was frightened as well.

lelly said...

i was at home, getting ready to drive to wilmington with a six month old jack, for his first kindermusik class.

we didn't have cable, and we watched peter jennings on a *snowy* t.v. for about 38 hours straight. we finally had to just look away, so we watched a DVD of "Joe Dirt" to take our minds off of it.

for a few years now, i've been able to be a little immune to the replaying of events that happens every year. but last night, i was watching the History Channel, and i immediately went right back to that time and place.

Kim Sue said...

I had taken the day off from work to meet Kenny to go to the bank to discuss our morgage for a new house we were about to buy. I dropped Carly off at daycare and met Kenny at his office. When I walked into the office, Kenny and his 2 coworkers were huddled around the T.V. I asked what were they watching. Kenny said something has happened at the WTC, maybe a bomb. We were watching and discussing what it could be when the 2nd plane hit. It was horrifing that it was happening here in America. I was numb as I drove to pick up Carly and go home. She was a baby, 19 months. I can remember being terrified for her and asking myself what kind of world she was going to grow up in.

charlotte said...

I was in eighth grade and in first period orchestra when I first heard about it. At first, I thought that some moron just flew a plane into a building by accident; then I realized that it wasn't an accident, that it was purposeful. In all my classes that day, we just watched the news. I was stunned. The next day, on my way to the bus stop, I had to fight back tears when I realized that some kids' parents wouldn't come home again, like mine did. Some kids went to the bus stop the day before, not realizing that they just said a final, temporal goodbye. It was heartbreaking to think about that.

Jill said...

I distinctly remember waking up and walking upstairs (we were living at my mom's house) and hearing it on the radio. I was in utter disbelief. I turned on the tv and was glued to it all day long. I was so sad, scared and upset as watched them replaying the destruction over and over and over and over again all day long. I remember thinking I would gladly deal with my normal-life struggles (which were many at the time) if we could just go back to normal again.

rmt said...

I was working at my first dental assisting job, early in the morning. One of the other assistants came in and said "Did you hear the news? An airplane just flew through the Twin Towers!" and silly me, I thought she meant between the Towers. I remember thinking "Oh, boy, that pilot's going to be in big trouble."
Later on I realized what was really going on. Most of our patients didn't show up that day, so the staff sat in the waiting room and watched the footage on a teeny tiny TV.
I remember starting to cry, because I knew it would mean war, and lots of people I know and love are in the military.
I will never forget that day, or where I was, or how I felt.
Great post, Michelle.

Kath said...

I was walking up the stairs with a basket of laundry when my husband called and told me to turn on the TV and that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I was glued to the TV. I was 4 months pregnant and had a 19 month old son and was scared for their future.
My sister worked in DC across from the Pentagon and we couldn't get in touch with her for several hours.
I was very frightened.

TX Girl said...

I was at work in NOLA and had NO ACCESS to a television. I only knew about it because someone came into my office. I remember talking to my dad and I was lamenting that I couldn't watch what was going on- he just kept saying how happy I should be that I didn't have access to a tv, because the things they were showing were things no one should ever have to see. After I got home I turned on the tv and immediately knew why my dad felt that way.

I still remember one of the phone calls they played- the woman was Melissa Hughes and she was calling her husband, but she had to leave a message on the machine. It still gives me chills.

Laurie said...

I was home, in St. George at the time. Someone called early in the morning and told us to record the news. Later that day, feeling numb and sad and helpless, I looked out my kitchen window at the cloudless blue sky and thought about all that smoke and destruction and suffering and knew we had all been affected. It did change all of our lives.

melanie said...

It was my 26th birthday and I was getting ready for work, 7 1/2 months pregnant. My brother called with a quick Happy Birthday and then in a somewhat frantic voice asks me if I can believe what happened. I had no idea what he was talking about. He loves all things New York, he served in Manhattan, and was in major shock. I watched until I left for work, which was a very hard day to get through. I watched all the show, saw all the women with new babies or the ones that weren't born yet and I just cried. It got to the point that I couldn't watch the stores anymore. With the pregnancy hormones raging, I was a crying mess. I wont forget where I was either, it's just one of those life changing moments.

Hannah said...

I was in my car on I-15 on the way to work. It was before the normal rush hour, but the traffic was moving so slow because so many of us were listening to it on our radios. I remember seeing many people with tears in their eyes or streaming down their faces, slowing moving forward but being glued to their radios, making eye contact and this empty look on all our faces. I remember being at work and listening and trying to get things done, holding all the orders that would have shipped to NY.

Rachelle's comment about knowing this meant a war and crying because of the people she knows in the military- wow!

Liz said...

We were actually in UT preparing to fly home that morning. So of course we were in the airport unable to go anywhere! We ended up renting a car and driving home (we lived in CA at the time). It was such a sad, absolutely terrifying day. One I don't think anyone will ever forget. Now that we live on the East Coast, and so near NYC, I think of those firefighters alot...every time I see a firetruck. When we visited Ground Zero for the first time, it really brought home to me just how extremely destructive that day was. I will never forget that day.

Claudissima said...

Oh my goodness...I have it on my mind often. I was leaving to go to work, so I only saw probably 30 min of tv before I left for work. Being there was futile as we did not do anything really. We were just wondering what was happening and if any other attack was imminent. We did not have any access to tv so I heard everything on the radio. I was stunned and in disbelief of all the horrible things...being that I had just been in NYC and had gone up to the top of the WTC w/o my parents (they waited in the lobby)...they had seen it already and it was 16.00 to go up. So I vividly remember having been there in the lobby and up in the top so recently before!

Denise said...

I remember having an argument with Mark that morning and later thinking, what if he--like so many of those who worked at the WTC--didn't come home that night? It made me want to try harder not to leave my family in the morning with bad or irritable feelings. I remember wishing I could do something to show my love and concern for so many hurting people in my country, so I put my flag up outside.

Amy said...

I was teaching school...trying to hold it together myself for a room full of horrified 11th & 12th graders. And every year on Sept.11 it all rushes back so freshly.

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