On September 11, 2001, I was living in Cairo, Egypt. The time difference between the east coast of the US and Egypt is 8-9 hours. I was making dinner when the doorbell rang. A neighbor from downstairs was telling me to turn on the tv because a plane had hit the WTC. I turned on the tv and we watched Good Morning, America. As the second plane hit the Towers, I met my husband's eyes and knew (as we all must have) that this was no accident.
I ran next door and grabbed my neighbor She had no tv yet...her things had not arrived from CONUS but she had gotten a phone call from her husband at the embassy. With her toddler son in tow, she sat in our family room as the events continued to unfold.
And so it went that evening. My family room was full of wives: wives of Marines, wives of State Dept. employees, wives of contractors, and wives of FBI agents. At some point, they all went home to attempt some semblance of normalcy..making dinner for their children. Most of their husbands were not coming home that night at all.
We got word that the embassy was telling us to stay in our building the next day and I got to thinking...We all desperately wanted to be home at that point. We all felt alone and afraid in a foreign country.We didn't know what would happen next either for our countrymen or for ourselves. We did have each other though and that is as good a strength as one would want in the situation.
So...the next day, we held the "Screw You bin Laden" BBQ. We all pooled what we had in our frigs and freezers. We invited those families who did not live in a "secure" building (at that point what the heck was secure anymore?) to come and share food with us. We had a playground in our enclosure that allowed little ones to blow off steam. We turned our tv's off and spent time with each other. Each checking to see if everyone had heard from families in the affected areas. Hugs, tears, and fellowship were on the menu along with the burgers and dogs we cooked. Nothing fancy, mind you, but it was desperately needed food for our souls.
Our Egyptian guards could not have been nicer. I suspect that they were a little confused though.We had to explain that what we were not having a party. We were trying to come together and show those that would hurt or kill us that Americans have a spirit that they did not count on.
My 9/11 and 9/12 memories.