September 11, 2006

9/11

I will never forget September 11 for many reasons, the first of which is it's my sister's birthday. The second is because it is simply September 11.

It does sound so incredibly cliche but that day began as any other. It was a glorious September in New Jersey day. Clear, blue sky, low humidity and a gentle breeze was blowing. It was perfect and ordinary mixed together.

Because it was my sister's birthday and we had no idea of the events which were to unfold, we had plans to go out for dinner. I was training for the NYC Marathon at the time and I wanted to go for a run. There wouldn't be time when Kevin came home from work so I headed to the gym with John, who was 4 at the time and Jeremy, who was 1 1/2. I ran a few miles and then gathered up the boys and headed home. I had the radio on a local station out of Manhattan and I heard them talking about someone flying a plane into the World Trade Tower. This radio station is known for pranks and jokes and I thought they were kidding.

As I was unlocking the door, I heard the phone ringing from inside the house. I ran to answer it and it was Kevin. He asked me if I knew what was going on and I told him, No. He then told me that our country was being attacked and I should not leave the house. He told me to lock the doors and close the blinds.

I felt very afraid.

I turned on the television just in time to see Tower 2 fall to the ground. I fell on the couch and began to cry.

One thought entered my head.

Jon. Oh my God, Jon!

He works in Manhattan. I grabbed the phone and began frantically calling his cell phone. I kept on getting the "all circuits are busy" message and I began to cry harder. I finally got through to him only to hear him groggily say,"Lane, it's o.k., I overslept. I never made it into the city." I began telling him that I loved him and I kept asking him if he was alright.

After we hung up the phone I began to call all of my family to see if they were safe. As I was dialing the phone, I was willing them to answer. Relief and more tears came when I heard the voices at the end of the line saying everyone in their home was accounted for and safe.

I grabbed my boys and hugged them.

Tightly.

I put Jeremy down for a nap and watched him sleep. I tried to shield John from the television but I couldn't keep my eyes off of it let alone his. He asked me what was going on and I told him the truth.

I don't know.

Kevin called us about 25 times that day just to make sure we were safe. He wasn't able to leave work but I knew he wanted to be with us.

We were renting an apartment in a house while waiting to close on our house and all of our things were in boxes. I went down to the basement, got out the flag and duct taped it to one of the columns on the house. When the girls who lived upstairs from us came home, they knocked on our door and thanked me for putting the flag out.

They put some candles out later that night. I will never forget that sight and the soft glow the candles gave off.

I was unable to shut the television off. I felt that I was somehow betraying all of the people who died. It was like if I shut off the television, I shut off their lives. I couldn't do it.

The stories and the faces haunted me for weeks.

The smoke that billowed over our house was a cruel reminder of what was lost.

In the days that followed I felt like I was walking around in suspended animation.

I was thankful when Rudy Giuliani said, "Go back to your lives. Go shopping. Go to a movie. Laugh. It's O.K. We have to keep on living."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's been five years and I have kept on living, but I have never, never forgotten. Nor do I want to.

"WE WILL NOT WAVER,
WE WILL NOT TIRE,
WE WILL NOT FALTER,
WE WILL NOT FAIL"
President George W. Bush

Look to the finish, with hope.

9 comments:

Carrie K. said...

Thank you for posting this, Laney. Every blog today brings a new story of remembering and fresh tears as I read.

Carrie K. said...

Thank you for posting this, Laney. Every blog today brings a new story of remembering and fresh tears as I read.

Carrie K. said...

Sorry about the double post - Blogger told me I didn't type in the little letters correctly. Oops.

Jules said...

What a powerful post.

I also remember every moment of that morning- every thought and every tear. Like you said, I hated to watch it over and over again but I couldn't seem to turn it off. I think I cried every day for two weeks.

How scary for you to think Jon was there! My girlfriend's husband is a pilot with United Airlines. I was so scared that he might have been flying that day. I pulled over on the side of the road to call her house. She and her husband had been sleeping and had no idea what was happening. When I heard that he was there with her I broke down. It was such a huge relief.

What a horrific day.

sleeplessinoklahoma said...

Thanks for a beautiful, heartfelt post. 9/11 touched all of us. My brother was on the police force at the time. Even in OK they were all called in to watch & wait. I, too, called just to say "I love you" "Be safe". My cousin was a flight attendant for American & I called my Mom immediately to have her call my aunt & find out where my cousin was that day. Praise God she was safe.
For my generation the question was "Where were you when JFK was shot?" Now for all of us it is "Where were you on 9/11?"

God Bless America, our men & women in the Armed Forces, & our President.

Peace, love, joy...

RANDI said...

I forgot that you were so close to the whole event! We are here in the middle of the US so fear of something happening here on that day was minimal. I remember thinking that I was so glad that we didn't live on a coast.

Thanks for sharing your memories, Laney. It puts things into perspective to think about this again!

mindy said...

I can so relate to that feeling of not being able to turn off the TV. I just sat for a week and cried. Last night I watched the movie because Danny really wanted me to watch it with him and I just sobbed all over again!

Thanks for your beautiful post.

Jess said...

This was beautiful Laney. I remember that awful "circuits are busy" message. We didn't find out until that evening that our family was OK. George's best friend called us while he was walking over the bridge to get back to Long Island. It's all so surreal even in my memories.

This was a beautiful warm tribute to 9/11 and everyone that was lost. Thank you for letting us walk with you through that fateful day.

IT just doesn't feel like 5 years already.

Hugs,
Jess

CMB said...

That was beautiful...I have tears in my eyes.