Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do You Remember?

I asked my daughter once, several years ago now, what her first memory was. I was actually wondering if she remembered a time when her dad and I were together. Her answer shook me to the core.

"I remember asking you if I could sleep on the couch in the living room because I was afraid if I slept on the top bunk in my bedroom (which was on the second floor) airplanes might kill me."

I was home, on the computer. Tiff was at school. Tsu was at work. I was playing Bejeweled. Tsu and I were chatting over an instant messenger. He said, "A plane just hit the WTC." I assumed someone drinking and flying in a small plane. a few minutes later... "You really need to go downstairs and turn on the TV. It was an airliner. This couldn't have been an accident."

I turned on my old standby, Good Morning America. Diana Sawyer and Charlie Gibson were giving live reports, and as they looked at the cameras and each other i watched in utter disbelief as another plane flew in to the buildings. THEY weren't watching the monitors so it was a surreal moment as tens if not hundreds of people died before our very eyes in that second impact... and then the shock and fear in their eyes as they discovered another plane had hit.

I think I spent the next 36 hours glued to the TV. Peter Jennings kept me from flipping out for like 20 hours. Somewhere during the morning he got an ink stain on his hand. It sounds silly to me when I say it, but... having someone there for that long, giving me the updates, looking and sounding as confused and scared and angry by turns as i was feeling, and so human with that ridiculous ink stain on his hand... it held me together.

Mid-day the next day a group of military planes flew over our house super low. All over the news it was saying NO planes were in the air and the sound of those plane engines terrified me. We now live on a flight path for military aircraft, they fly over about 3 times a week here, and to this day my heart races and I freeze where I am when they go over.

At the time my favorite silly online web site was My Cat Hates You and two days or so after 9/11 they made a post in memory of two cats they know (their own? a friends? a relatives? I can't recall) that were trapped in the evacuated zone close to the WTC and presumed dead. Locked in an apartment, alone, without enough food and water to get by, their world coated in the dust of the lives of thousands of people. i completely lost it. Over those two dang cats. Cats I had never heard of or seen before in my life... commemorated on a silly web site.

Two cats who survived after all, as they stated in an update. Scared, hungry, thirsty.... but alive.

That is what I remember about 9/11/01. Peter Jennings with ink stains on his hands and crying for two cats.... and assuring my daughter that her bedroom was safe, even on the top bunk.


  1. I do remember. I remember frantically calling family to find out where my SIL was working from that morning. You see she works for Microsoft and had an office in one of the towers....

    After several hours we learned she had not gone into NYC to work that day. Instead opted to work from home and "go in later if needed".

  2. I know SOOO many people with friends/relatives/loved ones who (just as a fluke and for many completely out of character) decided to work from home, call in sick, or just go in late that day.

  3. Yeah, I remember. I was in training that day and got called back into the office shortly after the 1st plane hit. We had techs and a data center located a block away from the two towers. Luckily, our guys were not in the area at that time... they were dispatched to another area to work on another issue on the network.

    I also remember seeing the first tower fall behind the reporters for CNN live on air, and they didn't even catch it... it took them several minutes and replays before they realized what happened.

    Footage of that day still makes me physically sick, as well.

  4. I spent a good chunk of the day watching the news and answering the phone -- people calling to make sure I wasn't down there. Then closing my windows when dust started coming in from the buildings collapsing and cleaning up the dust that had gotten in.... and trying to reach all the people I knew who worked down there, e-mailing, leaving voicemails... and worrying. Then wondering a bout a friend who works in the Pentagon once that plane had hit.... I was Lucky "my people" were all okay... traumatized, but okay. One was getting a donut from a cart outside the WTC when the first plane hit... she ran away from the buildings (smart move)... others were stuck on the LIRR or in traffic. If those planes had struck 20 minutes later, it would have been an entirely different story.