Saturday, September 11, 2021

We sat and sat . . . .

I wasn't going to write about 9/11 again, but here's what's going through my mind today.  My husband and I worked for the Department of Defense, so we were both in our respective offices that morning. In my office, on the fifth floor of the main building, we watched in amazement as a plane plowed through the first tower of the World Trade Center and in horror as another plane hit the second. 

Within minutes, we were all told to go home. Then came the challenge of making one's way down four flights of stairs crowded with hundreds of frantic people. I found my way to our car in the parking lot. My husband was already there. As a high-ranking 35-year employee,  he was entitled to a special parking place just a few rows from the front door of the building.  The downside of this plum spot was now apparent. We were far from the single parking-lot exit. Yes, there was just one exit to this huge lot, because terrorism was on everyone's radar even before 9/11.  The bad guys had to be kept out. 

Those who had to park farther from the building every day were now able to leave first, but even they were hampered by the bottleneck at the gate. Everyone inched along for what seemed like hours. We mostly just sat and sat, glancing at the sky and listening, wondering if we were going to be targets. My husband thinks it took us about two hours to reach the gate.  I cried all the way home. 

Work was never the same after that. The going-away party scheduled later that week for a beloved team leader was cancelled. The Iraq War came along in 2003 with a lot of flag-waving and fanfare. "Shock and Awe." It made me sick. When my 97-year-old mother began to wander down our driveway and complain to passersby about the treatment she was receiving from the "strangers" in "that house,"I knew it was time to retire. It was 2006.

The world was never the same after that either. Our first grandson arrived nearly a year after the attack, in 2002. His due date was supposed to have been on the first anniversary of 9/11, but he appeared nearly two weeks early. He arrived during the days when a sniper and his young sidekick were terrorizing the Washington suburbs. His parents couldn't even take him to the park in his stroller until after the pair were caught, in late October. 

The country is still under the spell of 9/11. We are so angry with each other and so fearful of "the other" that we are barely able to cope with any of our problems, let alone Covid. What will become of us?

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your memories with us. What a terrible time it was.

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    1. Yes, it was, and the repercussions of that day are still very much with us.

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  2. Oh my! You were at ground zero. How terrifying.

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    1. Not THE ground zero, but another one, in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

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  3. I didn't know your 9/11 story and I thank you for sharing it. I remember what a beautiful, sunny day it was in upstate New York. I had worked near the World Trade Center one summer and did my banking at the WTC. I was familiar with the area and I was in such total shock. I visited Ground Zero 11 months later and - no words, even that long afterwards. My water aerobics instructor, a nurse, spent the rest of that month in New York City helping out, and someone working in my building at work (National Guard) was activated and spent a week at Ground Zero. He has never spoken of what he experienced.

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    1. What a sobering experience that person in the National Guard must have had.

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  4. That must have been a terrifying day for you

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    1. I usually don't dwell on it, which is a good thing, but yesterday brought it all back.

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  5. It is a sad post to read Cynthia but very nicely written. People must keep telling their stories as memories and people fade away. A person would have to be around twenty five years old to have any memory of the day at all.

    We can only hope future generations will be a bit smarter than we were.

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    1. A TV talkshow host quoted Einstein this morning: "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius is limited."

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  6. That traffic sounds horrible. It was a traumatic day for all of us.

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    1. Yes, it was, and the trauma is still with us.

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  7. Didn't know you work for defense department.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  8. Like the day JFK was assonated, we never forget. My sister's birthday is 9/12, and there was a cake because our lives could go on.

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    1. Life goes on, even though our hearts are broken.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

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  10. I am glad you decided to share again, because I did not know any of this. I am so happy for both of you that you made it down and out and home that day. you are the last blog about 9/11 I have read today and I find that you must feel like I do, the last part is what I was thinking of yesterday, everyone wants to remember 9/11 so long ago. I say it has been one horror after another since then and our world and USA are in total chaos, and I don't mean the pandemic, which of course is high on the list. you mentioned a few things that have happened since then and there are many more, such as mass shootings and the Jan 6 assult on our captiol and now a huge black fence around the captiol. thanks for sharing

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    1. And now we have a "Justice for J6" rally scheduled for next Saturday. Sounds like some kind of joke, only it isn't.

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