Wednesday, September 11, 2013
September 11, 2001
I went to work as usual, taking the train from Fort Washington to downtown Philadelphia. As I walked from the train station to my office, I was enjoying the beautiful September day. The sky was clear blue, not a cloud in sight and the air was just crisp and cool enough to make breathing a joy.
It was a typical day in my office. My co-workers and I had finished our morning coffee and were busy working on our individual projects. I was sitting at a desk that faces a window, working on my computer. My co-worker across the office had his radio on as usual, but low enough that I couldn't hear it. He stood up and told us to turn on our individual radios (we didn't have a TV in the office). He told us that one of the twin towers in New York City had been hit by a plane. At that point they thought it was probably a small plane and an accident. Of course, a few minutes later it was reported that the second tower had been hit. It was beginning to dawn on us that this was an intentional attack.
When we heard the Pentagon had been hit as well, we all decided we should leave and head for home. We had no idea what the extent of this attack was going to be. As I walked down 16th street in Philly I noticed everyone had the same shocked look on their face that I must have had on mine. It was the same on the train; everyone sat there silently with the same stunned look on their face. The main thought in our minds was to get home.
I arrived at home and turned the TV on. By then they were reporting that a plane had gone down in Pennsylvania. It wasn't that far from where I was living and my husband was on a business trip in Chicago. I started rushing around the house finding emergency supplies, just in case. I got my cat carrier out so I could take my cat with me. But where would I go? I had no idea. I guess I was in a bit of a panic. I ended up staying there, watching TV in the same shocked disbelief as the rest of the country.
My husband called later and said he was driving home from Chicago. He happened to have a rental car already, so he was one of the lucky ones. Since all flights had been shut down, everyone was scrambling to rent cars and they quickly ran out.
For days we mourned. We mourned for the people who died, for their families. We mourned for the firefighters who ran up the stairs and died. We mourned our country's loss of innocence; our sense of security had been shattered.