Just the random ramblings of a stay at home mommy...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where Were You?

Where were you on September 11, 2001? Do you remember? Is it still so clear in your mind it could have been yesterday? I certainly hope so. What happened MUST be remembered. The innocent victims MUST never be forgotten. If we forget, we give those cowards a victory.

I was in Kalispell, Montana. My cousin had been married on the 8th. My mom and I arrived at the tiny airport early in the morning on September 11. Our flight was to leave at 8ish mountain time. I had talked to Johnny the night before - the flight was wide open, we'd have no problem getting on (we were flying standby). We got to the gate ... and the flight was suddenly full. This was a bit of a problem as the next flight out of this tiny airport to Salt Lake City wasn't until after 1pm. Sigh.

We went back to the main area of the terminal. Mom walked to the windows on the opposite side to contact our family to see if we could get a ride back to their house. I sat down at a table in the small "cafe" to wait and see what we'd be doing. I remember an airport worker coming up to the lady in the cafe and telling her that there had been a plane crash and to turn on the news. The first thing that popped in my head was "Oh my stars! The plane we were just supposed to be on has crashed!" So the cafe lady turned the little TV mounted on the wall on and flipped through the channels; I recall it went past a station and there was a picture of the Twin Towers there, smoking, but we didn't notice it, we were looking for plane crash coverage. The first worker told her," No, no. Go back. That was it!" Horrible reality set in.

I sat there in my little chair staring at those building with smoke pouring out of them. The two ladies stood there staring. I kept trying to get my mom's attention across the room. Slowly, people in the airport gathered around in silence. My mom came back to the table. This airport is really small (REALLY small) and its not going to be noisy like Hartsfield here in Atlanta but it was dead silent. Dead silent. I remember glancing around at the people gathered around us, maybe a dozen or so, and everyone had the same expression: shock, horror, sadness.

Then there came the report that another plane had been flown into the Pentagon in DC (and I think I remember there was a mention of a fire or explosion on The Mall). I looked at my mom and said, feeling like I was 5 and not 22, "Mom, what in the world is going on?" She just looked at me, tears in her eyes, and shook her head. I have never felt so young or helpless or confused or scared in my life. This was America. Things like this didn't happen here! We hadn't been attacked since 1941 and even then there was a war going on (even if we weren't in it then).

Suddenly, there was more smoke pouring from one of the Towers and a gentleman to my left said there had been another explosion. I stared at what was on the screen and knew that was no explosion and cried, "No! The building is collapsing!!" They didn't want to believe me. Nerd that I am, I have watched those shows where they show building demolition and I recognized the sight of a building collapsing. It was soon apparent I had been right. I remember glancing kind of behind me and to my left. There was an elderly couple standing there, the gentleman had a cowboy hat on, and I can still see the expression on his face. We probably all looked like that. There was no sound; we all watched in silence as the second Tower fell.

We heard the flights had been canceled. We went to the Delta desk to ask what we should do? When would there be another flight? I'll never forget the poor girl behind the counter in tears just shaking her head and saying over and over "I don't know, I don't know."

I have never been so glad to see someone as I was when my cousin walked in to pick us up and take us back to their house in town. We would be stuck there for another week as there were no open seats once flights resumed (standby remember?); there weren't even any rental cars left in town. I am just glad that we were with family.

When we were finally able to get on a plane home a week later, the flight from Salt Lake City to Atlanta was....interesting. After dinner, while they were serving us ice cream sundaes we hit some turbulence. Not really bad but enough to bounce the plane around pretty good for a couple minutes. Needless to say, everyone on the plane was pretty freaked out. We had been lucky enough to get seats in first class for that trip and I remember the stewardess looking pretty freaked out herself.

We can never forget what happened to this country. There are people out there that just want to wipe us off this planet. They will try again.

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