I can still remember the exact moment that I heard an airplane had "crashed into a building". It was a regular morning for me. I was driving to work listening to what was at the time, a really funny radio program. It's funny what we remember whenever a tragic event occurs. I remember that it was a particular beautiful and sunny day in Houston. You could tell that fall was coming with the light crispy air. I was one block from my office building when the on air personality said something that didn't sound right to me. He said something along the lines of "This just in from the AP wire, it seems a plane has crashed into a skyscraper in New York" he paused and then said, "Oh my god!" and then cut away to a commercial. I wondered what had happened and continued on my way to the office. I remember walking in to the office and found a few of my coworkers huddled together watching the small black and white tv we kept in the kitchen. I guess they had brought it down here. And there, I watched as the second plane hit the other tower. I stood there in disbelief and to be honest, it took a moment or two for my brain to register what exactly had happened. Some of my coworkers started crying. I just asking what the hell had just happened. You see, I still hoped this was some horrible, horrible prank. Only it wasn't.
We remained glued to the tv, as other employees came in to watch with us. When the towers fell, I cried. There were people in those buildings. Innocent lives. I felt sick to my stomach. The managing partner of the firm told us we could go home if we wanted to. I stuck around for a few hours but then left. I was useless at work. And back then, there was not that "instant" social media capacity. So there was no Facebook to post to. No Instagram. No Twitter to tweet. We relied on the telephone -the landline kind. And of course, our television and radio.
Driving home that mid morning was surreal. I worked downtown where the streets were always filled with people bustling to their destination and traffic galore, sounds of machinery from construction often heard. But as I drove away, downtown was eerily quiet and empty. As I drove past Memorial Park -which is lined along the streets leading up to 610 highway, I noticed how there was no one running or walking. That was unheard of in these parts. But that day, there was no one. Another thing I noticed was there were no birds flying overhead. Normally, they were chirping away and you could see them flying freely like always. But not that day. I don't know if that had anything do with what happened but I just found it odd.
When I finally got home I sat in front of the tv for hours. Watching what had unfolded early that morning And you know, even after I saw people jumping from the buildings, even then I hoped they could be saved. Even then...
Fifteen years ago, America as we knew it, died. And I find it oh so ironic that here we are fifteen years later, and we're as lost as can be. And that makes me so sad.
I often think of the children that lost their mother or father or grandparents or siblings that day. Or of the children that never got to meet them. I think of all of those firefighters and first responders that perished while trying to save lives. Such a waste of life. Horrible that it was cut short. And the spouses that were left behind, the parents...so many brave men and women lost, because of cowardly acts from the monsters that drew blood from our beloved country.
On this fifteenth anniversary that tomorrow will bring, I will take a moment, pray for the lives lost, the loved ones left behind and the loved ones that never met their parents. And I will pray for our country. Broken as we are, we are still the United States and I am proud to be an American.
God bless us all..