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For my parent’s generation, you can talk to any person and they will most likely have a vivid memory of what they were doing when JFK was assassinated. Their parent’s had the same for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But, for my generation and those adjacent to me, there wasn’t a big moment in time that is permanently etched into our brain. At least not until the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
I know that we’ll hear a bit about it at church today. Father mentioned that fact when doing a quick ‘state of the parish’ talk at the ladies group meeting yesterday.
Broadcast stations will probably have a ton of footage on the news shows and I won’t be surprised to see documentaries on cable channels, too.
So, where were YOU when our innocence was lost? What were you doing?
For me, I was driving into work. At the time, I had a part-time job with the American Red Cross of Portage County (Ohio) in marketing and public relations. I remember the station I had on the radio mentioning something about an airplane hitting a tower in NY. But, I thought it was a joke in bad taste as that particular station was prone to doing that kind of thing. Only, this seemed to be incredibly bad taste even for them.
Walking into the office, I knew what I’d just heard was not a bad joke. Phones were ringing off the hook and people were trying to find information to be able to field the calls. My couple hours work turned into a very long day there. One of the ‘requirements’ for American Red Cross employees is to be there during emergencies, regardless of normal hours. And, that day was definitely a state of emergency.
Mr. O called my cell phone to reach me as you couldn’t even hang up on office phone without a new caller coming in on the recently vacated line. He picked up the boys from the sitter for me as I couldn’t’ leave until later that night. When I finally returned home, knowing full well I’d have another full day at the office for sometime to come, he was contemplating if we should pack up and just start driving west.
Now, Ohio is not exactly close to D.C., but in his mind we were in too densely a populated area. What if terrorists started attacking all the populated areas and decided NE Ohio was worthy of their attention?
We didn’t take off and after almost 2 weeks of working full time or beyond, things slowed down. Our family made the trek to Louisiana by airplane for the baptism of our goddaughter. That was an interesting experience with far more empty seats than full, although the tighter security measures had not been put into place yet.
Reflecting back 10 years later, I am still saddened by the events of that day and the loss of life. The changes made to how we live are sometimes an inconvenience, but we tolerate them to remain safe.
But, most of all I am so grateful for all those who stepped up and helped at a time when chaos could have taken hold. I am also so grateful for all the men and women that put their lives on the line for our safety.
God Bless America!