Where Were You?

Where were you?  Today, wispy clouds dotted the blue sky gently announcing a prelude to fall, much like the weather on 9-11-2001.  A day that changed many forever.

Sitting at my kitchen table 12 years ago, I stood up, walking 4 steps to answer the telephone.  “A plane has hit one of the towers in New York, do you have the television on?”  A call was waiting.  With a tap on the phone’s key pad, I was on a 3-way conference call.  Tones of otherwise calm voices sounded as if they were shaking to gasp a breath, wondering if what they were seeing from Hoboken, NJ, across the Hudson River was really happening.

I had to get to work.  Flights would soon cease.  I was on the banks of the Mississippi River at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans.  A trade show was shutting down early because of what had taken place in New York a few hours ago.  Acquaintances were quickly becoming friends, searching for rental car reservations to drive across country, in every direction, to get home to loved ones.  Air space in the U.S. was cleared.  Four thousand or more flights were brought to a halt.  Nerves were on edge.  Security at the hotel, always strong, became intense, to protect workers and guests.  Everything was scrutinized, no matter who you knew on the inside.

I didn’t sleep well that night.  Living along the Mississippi River whose banks were filled with chemical and petroleum plants was unnerving.  A nuclear power plant operated within 15 miles of my home.  Later in the week, I would observe armed military guards stationed around the perimeter of the plant.

In the next few days, signs of reaction sprung up everywhere.  A local gas station’s hand-painted sign said something about “kicking ass.”  Church pews were crowded for the next several weeks.  The atmosphere was intense.  The nation’s emotions were raw with unbelief and grief.  Telephone lines burned.  “Have you heard from…, Is [fill in the blank] okay?”

In August this year, I visited the Morris Plains, New Jersey, 9-11 Memorial.  The memorial is stunning in its simple beauty, featuring twisted, jagged steel beams recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center.  The beams bear original placement markings, coming from the North Tower, around the area of the 93rd floor, near the impact zone of the plane that flew into the tower.

Like many communities throughout the country, today Morris Plains held a service of remembrance marking 9-11-2001.  The information below is from the Borough’s website:

“The Morris Plains Fire Dept. will also ring sirens to signify the following events that occurred tragically on 9-11-01:

8:46 a.m.  AA Flight impacts World Trade Center North Tower

9:03 a.m. UA Flight 175 impacts World Trade Center South Tower

9:37 a.m. AA Flight 77 impacts the Pentagon

9:59 a.m. The South Tower collapses

10:03 a.m. UA Flight 93 crashes in a field in Shanksville, PA after passengers launch a courageous counterattack on hijackers aboard the plane.

10:28 a.m. The North Tower collapses”

Never forget.  Be vigilant.  Be mindful that hearts are still mending 12 years after the tragic day of 9-11-2001.

©Barbara Moran and Barbara Moran Blog 2013

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