Monday, September 11, 2006

It was a beautiful sunny day

It's quite cold outside. sixty-two degrees. Nothing like the 9/11 five years ago, which was a beautiful, sunny, warm and glorious day. Eighty degrees with plentiful sunshine, not a single cloud in the sky. Such an amazing day that turned so awful and painful to endure. I'm surprised at how raw my feelings are on this five year anniversary. The pain I still feel, the sadness, the shock, the horror. I know I'm not alone, I know you still feel those feelings, too. And we should. I'm grateful that this is a story I want to relive, I believe it honors those that were killed. It's not a story that comes on in this news that I turn my head away. I remember them and I remember that day with such anguish, a day I will never forget.

Days and weeks after I would always want to ask anyone I met where they were when they heard or saw the news and how it unfolded in their lives. I even thought for a brief moment that I should make a collection of everyone's responses and keep them forever, I never did. I also did not ask everyone I met because I felt like I was asking something so personal and so real and it really wasn't my business.

Yesterday, at the end of mass, we sang America The Beautiful. As soon as the song was announced tears immediately welled up in my eyes as the anniversary has been top on my mind. I could not sing a single word, but I paid special attention to the lyrics, which are so appropriate for the day.
Here is a portion of one verse:
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!

Five years ago I had a dentist appointment scheduled in Chicago. My appointment was for 9:45am. I still have my appointment card that said September 11, 2001-9:45am. Written when September 11th was just a normal day. We had a two story apartment in Indiana, Brian and I were going to drive to Chicago together, (he works downtonw.) I was upstairs getting ready, Brian was downstairs watching TV. I came down for a second to ask when Brian was going to start getting ready, at that moment I saw the TV while still on the stairs, Brian said a plane crashed into the World Trade Center, we were watching the Today Show. I remember asking him why he didn't tell me. I can't remember his response. We did not have too much time to watch, I just thought about how serious the crash was. A small plane entered a building where people worked. How would they battle the fire? How many people were killed. I had no idea how huge the plane really was. I knew nothing. We left and turned on a news radio station in the car. We were in the car for the next hour listening to every detail unfold, the second plane, Shanksville, the Pentagon. As we entered the parking garage the towers had fallen. It was horrifying. As we drove the streets of downtown Chicago, everyone was talking on cell phones, people were everywhere and constantly they were looking up at the sky. While we were stopped in traffic, we had a perfect view of the Chicago skyline, I was certain a plain would hit the Sears Tower. At one point a saw something in the sky and I gasped, my heart was a bird. I was on high alert.

I arrived at the dentist's office and learned that they were evacuting downtown Chicago. I offered to reschedule the appointment, they said no, they would take me and go home for the day. I remember sitting in the chair thinking about how much I dreaded this appointment and how uncomfortable I was and how little it was compared to what thousands of people were going through at that moment. After the appointment, I picked Brian up, we drove home listening to the radio. Shocked, hurt and so sad. It was here that I learned of people in foreign countries celebrating what occurred on our homeland. I felt so much anger towards these people. I worried about my brothers, were were active (and still are) in the military, at their Army bases with their wives and kids. We returned home, on our answering machine was a message from my mother-in-law, making sure Brian was okay. She also wanted to tell me that she was praying for my brothers. That made everything so real to me. I talked to my sister-in-law and she told me about things that had occured during that day at the Army base and that scared me, too.

The entire day was so strange. Cable channels were off the air. For days there were no commercials. That night my friend came over and we went and picked up pizza. At some point I attended a prayer vigil, I'm not sure when. When I laid down for bed that night I prayed that the nation would remain untouched over night. I was certain we would be attacked again. I have never felt so unsafe, I can't imagine living in a war zone.

Five years later, still remembering and forever heartbroken.


  • At 9/12/2006 02:59:00 PM, Blogger Jenn said…

    Beatiful tribute, Beth, in memory of a very difficult day. I am so glad that you, Brian, and your family in the military were out of harm's way five years ago.

    Funny, I was also worried about the Sears' Tower on that day too. I went up to the observation deck for the first time in 2000 while traveling by myself on business. I distinctly remember looking up the Sears Tower website to check on it 5 yrs ago.

    The verse of America the Beautiful that you mention is extremely touching. I'm glad you posted the lyrics.

  • At 9/13/2006 11:49:00 AM, Blogger elisa said…

    Very well written. I guess I was just in shock that day and had a hard time believing it was real.

  • At 9/14/2006 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Sara T said…

    I'm right there with you. I still feel such strong feelings on that fact any time anyone mentions that day. I can't even fathom making plans on that day. I still cry at the mention of it.

    I was at work on the day. I remember I was working in Client Services then and the guy that sat across from me always told me what was going on in the news. I remember like it just happened...Sara, you won't believe this, a plane just hit the World Trade Center. I remember thinking those poor people in the plane...but really didn't think too much of the building..cause I thought it was a small plane and that basically the building was indestructable. I then remember the phones going one was calling to find out their balances...everyone was paying attention to the news. Then another plane hit. I watched everything on I must have hit refresh a thousand times. We all just huddled around each other, crying and talking. I ended up having to work the whole day since the market didn't close. I did go straight to the blood bank after work with my sister and gave blood. I had to do something. It was the busiest I had ever seen the blood bank. I was so proud to stand next to all my fellow Americans who wanted to help save people they had never met. Sure I was all the way in Florida...but you just never know and I wasn't going to give it a chance in case they needed it.


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