Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where Were You?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, you could ask anyone that question and they would immediately know what you were talking about.

Where were you?

Now you would probably get an answer of, "When?"

Where were you?

I was home in bed, because it was my day off. I had nothing more planned than to wash my hair, check my email, watch a little tv.
I watched a lot of tv that day.
I don't know that I ever washed my hair.

I was sound asleep when I got the call. It was my friend Jen. I was surprised she was up that early. I answered the phone, "Hey." She was crying. She said, "Turn on the tv." I asked, "What channel?"
She said, "It doesn't matter."

I went to the living room and turned on the tv. There was smoke, fire, falling debris. (Later there were falling bodies.)

I collapsed on the floor and told Jen I call her back later.

I watched in horror, trying to comprehend what I was seeing. Then the second plane hit.

Where were you?

I called my mom and then both of my brothers. I prayed for the victims and the soon to be victims.
I prayed for their families.
I prayed for the responders.
I prayed thanks that I didn't know anyone in New York.
Or Virginia.
Or Pennsylvania.
Or even DC.

I found myself repeating, "Oh God, oh God, oh God" over and over, which I suppose was a kind of prayer in itself.

Where were you?

Due to my profession, I have, perhaps, a slightly different take on the whole scene. I kept thinking, and still think, of the 911 operators in those areas. I can't imagine the chaos of their call centers. I know what it's like around here when we "just" get a big car accident, an ice storm, the rare tornado. It's unbelievable how many calls we get, "just" for those things.

How many of those 911 operators wanted to leave and flee to their homes to be with their families? Every single one of them, I'll bet you. But they held their posts and did their jobs.
I can't imagine.

In my ten years on the job, I have had to stay on the phone and comfort the sad, the sick, the lost and the dying. How torn those 911 people must have been, between staying on the line for those who desperately wanted someone to talk to, and getting off the line to try and help the next of hundreds of thousands that were calling in.
How hard it must have been, to take call after call from not only victims, but citizens, and family members who were terrified, but from those who must have know they were going to die, or were already dying.

I can't imagine.

Where were you?

Today is September 11.
In law enforcement, it has traditionally been a day to honor emergency personnel all over the country. It still is.
But honestly, my heart's not in it. I just don't care about the new shirts. Or the food brought in for us. Or some mucky-muck from the County Commissioner's office that may or may not come by.

I'm not so focused on 911 as much as I am 9/11.
I see pictures from that day and my heart's still in my throat.

Why have so many forgotten what that day was like? There are those arguments about putting a mosque near Ground Zero. Too many people think that's okay. Really? Don't you realize they are wanting to do that just to make us mad? To make us argue with each other and divide us? Sad that it's working so well.

Personally, I think they should have left the rubble.

I'm sick to death of hearing that we need to practice peace, love and understanding. I think we need to practice some serious ass-kicking. I think we need to be reminded, on a daily basis, that there are those who want to kill us just because we are Americans. Those that would nuke this whole country off the face of the planet if they could.

We need to remember.
Every single day.

We need to remember who we are.
Where we are.
Where we were.

Where were you?


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  2. I was in a classroom full of children.

  3. Oh, Tera, I too can only imagine. We had just dropped our oldest son off at his first week of preschool and heard confused news in the car on the way home. Within a couple of hours my husband, as a journalist, was on his way to the Pentagon. My baby slept all day. He has never known America before 9/11.

    God Bless America.

  4. There are two tragedies that stand out in my life. I will always remember where I was on 9/11 and where I was the day that John Lennon was murdered.

  5. I was driving (imagine that) and my cell phone started ringing and everyone that was calling were confused and not sure of what happened and i just wouldn't/couldn't believe it was THAT bad until I finally got to a television about 2 hours later. By then it was mass hysteria and people were lined up at gas pumps and grabbing things at the grocery store. All I could do was sit there and stare at the television. Now ask me where I was the day the Murrah Building was bombed in Oklahoma City. THAT day is actually more etched in my brain than 9/11.

  6. I was at work. My company is on the MD/DC border. Someone in my area yelled, "A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!"

    We ran to the lobby where there was a TV and sadly watched as the second plan hit.

    We went up to the top floor and could see smoke from the Pentagon.

    Planes were grounded, yet we heard one overhead. It was a fighter jet banking to circle back to DC. They sent them up to circle the city. It flew right over us. We had chills.

    One of my coworkers was on the phone with his wife, who worked in Arlington, just across the river from DC. In a very slow, calm voice he was saying, "Get the kids from day care and go home. Now. Or as soon as they'll let you."

    We didn't get a lot of work done that day.

  7. I was sitting in the window seat when my husband came in. He felt compelled to turn on the television. We were horrified. They thought an accident had happened and then it all unfolded. When the towers collapsed I could not stop crying over the thousands who had died in that instant the towers crumbled.

    I will never, ever forget. I feel the same as you do. Amen, preach it sister!

  8. Aw geez. That awful, awful day. I remember how beautiful the morning started. I was in my bedroom watching the Today Show. One of the first things I did was call my friend whose husband worked in one of the towers. She had no idea it was all happening. He survived, thank God, but his first hand account is chilling. We lost some neighbors and friends.


    Anyway. Tera! It's good to be here again, soaking up all your wit. Winston is cuddly fantastic! I wish I had 8 arms to hug him properly. And hey! I read your old post on Secret Agent Man's moniker. You are so beautiful! And wow, a Celtic band! Love it!


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