My grandmother still remembers where she was and what she was doing when she heard the news about Pearl Harbor. My mom still remembers where she was and what she was doing when John Kennedy was assassinated.
I still remember where I was on September 11th.
My life has two parts to it. The part up through September 10, 2001 andthe part from September 11, 2001 to the present. A defining moment. Mylife as an Army wife also has two parts. The first part was where thebiggest drawback or downside of military life was a hardship tour toKorea. The second part is life as I know it right now.
Themorning of September 11, 2001 I was 10 months pregnant and 5 days frommy due date. I had 4 days left to go as a teacher before going onmaternity leave and was only working half days so I didn't need to bein until 11am that day. MacGyver had a 7am work call and was in theshower when my alarm went off. I remember smacking the snooze button onthe radio and through the haze of sleep, I heard the DJ say "a planehas hit the Pentagon.".
I woke up. Quickly.
I turnedthe radio back on and sat bolt upright in bed as I listened. It took mea minute to wrap my brain around what I was hearing. In that time,MacGyver finished his shower and turned off the water. I got up and outof bed as fast as my pregnant belly would let me and knocked on thedoor. He answered and I told him he needed to go downstairs and turn onthe TV.
How many people uttered those words that day?
Everyone I talk to, every story I hear involves those words. "You need to go and turn on the TV."
Wewent downstairs and stood, gaping, at the television. We couldn't evencry. We were too shocked. I think the first tower fell while we werewatching and that must have sparked MacGvyer to move. He boltedupstairs, threw on his BDUs, grabbed his overnight bag and some food,kissed me goodbye, and left. Still, there were no tears. I didn't knowif I would see him again. In my mind, he would deploy. I don't knowwhere I thought he was going or what I expected him to be doing but Idid not expect him to come home. Mentally I was trying to steel myselfto have this baby alone. And I was ok with that. Hell, after thinkingabout what the people in New York, DC, and Pennsylvania were goingthrough, having a baby on my own was nothing compared to that.
Still, there were no tears.
Iwent to school. It was chaos and sadness all at the same time. Wedidn't get anything done that day (or for a few days after). We all satand watched TV. And talked. And worried. And prayed. Yes, we prayed ina public school. Seemed like the thing to do at the time.
But still, no tears.
And then I came home. And I sat down and watched TV. And I saw this...
And, for some reason, that image stuck with me. Moreso than any otherimage I saw that day or any other day. I had read about Father MychalJudge a while back. I knew who he was. I remember reading about how hetended to the families of the victims of TWA flight 800 when it crashedoff Long Island and thinking what an incredible man he was. When I realized who it was that they were carrying out of the rubble, my heart broke. And I cried.
So that's my story. Where were you?