I Throw Like a Girl

Where were you?

Posted by Carol on September 12, 2008

I remember as a kid, my parents would sometimes talk about where they were when JFK was shot in November of 1963.  Our kids will grow up remembering their parents talking about where they were on 9/11.

I was a pharmaceutical sales rep on September 11, 2001 and my district was having a meeting at a Marriott Hotel in Hartford, CT.  We had already started our meeting bright and early in one of those generic meeting rooms we’ve all had to sit in for one reason or another.  One of our co-workers spent the night at his own house because he had to get his kids off to school.  As a result, he was late to the meeting. 

We were oblivious to what was happening in NYC and Washington, DC and eventually in that field in Pennsylvania, but when Mike came running late into the meeting room with the news, none of us knew what to think.  Our manager dismissed us to go home. He knew trying to continue the meeting was not only inappropriate, but futile.  I live in New Jersey and I could not drive home fast enough to get to my children with my radio tuned to the news all the way.

My husband was actually supposed to be on a plane that morning.  He travels quite a bit for his job and although I knew his schedule enough to know that he couldn’t have been on one of the planes that crashed, I was frantic to hear his voice.  Most phone communication was very difficult in the NYC area that day, but by some miracle I was able to get a call through to his cell phone. He was at Newark Airport when I reached him.

The first words I said to him were, “Do you know what happened?”

His response, “Do I know what happened? Carol, I just saw one of the towers fall!” From his terminal at Newark airport, he had a perfect view of the NYC skyline.

He and the other passengers on his flight had already boarded their plane and pulled away from the gate when the first tower was hit.  The pilot was given orders to go back to the gate and have everyone de-plane due to “an emergency”.  By the time they got back to the terminal, the second tower had been hit.  The passengers could see the smoke rising from the World Trade Center from the windows of their plane.

The terminal where my husband’s flight was to take off was the very some one that Flight 93 took off earlier that morning.  I can’t help but wonder how many other planes were saved from crashing because the FAA grounded all flights. 

I know all of us held our children a little closer that night. Everyone loved their neighbor a little bit better, at least for a while. I remember all the flags flying from car antennas and windows.  We were united in a common pain.  We were a little kinder. We didn’t sweat the small stuff because we saw that it really is all small stuff. 

I hate that 9/11 happened but I love how it brought out the best in most of us.  For our generation, it changed the definition of hero.  I will never consider someone who can hit some home runs or throw a football a hero.  Too many real heroes risked their lives or gave their lives for others that day. 

Life has gone on as it always does.  Where were you on 9/11?

  

 

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4 Responses to “Where were you?”

  1. Beverlydru said

    Wow- you were close. I was in the car taking my 6th grader to school when we heard it on the radio. I thought there was some mistake. I subsequently stayed glued to the the TV that day with the rest of America in disbelieving horror. We will always remember.

  2. Pam M. said

    Carol,

    I was at work, listening to the radio. A report cut into the music with the news that a plane that had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I was pretty brand new in my relationship with the Lord, but I knew an SOS needed to go out for prayer right away. I called a wonderful woman who was my Bible study leader, Ruth Forst, and told her what I had heard. No sooner had I gotten off the phone, when I heard another voice cut in to tell about ANOTHER PLANE hitting the other tower. My phone rang and it was my husband, asking me if I heard what was going on. He told me that if we had a TV at work, to hurry up and put it on. I whispered a prayer and ran out to our conference room and put the TV on. Word spread quickly through our office and everybody gathered together in front of the TV. I ran back and called Ruth again. I also ran into my supervisor’s empty office and scanned the skies, as if I expected to see a plane headed for our building. Someone started yelling about another plane crash and I remember suddenly feeling very cold. Cell phones weren’t connecting, so people were running back and forth between the TV and their desks while they called loved ones. I also remember my coworkers asking over and over, “What do we do? What’s going to happen?” Sometime after 10:30 AM, I couldn’t take it any more and I ran outside to an area across the street from my office that I visited daily. It’s a very old, tiny church that’s been converted into a theater. Around back is a small cobblestone courtyard with park benches, trees, flowers, ivy growing up the side of the building. It’s off the beaten path, and I would go there to read or pray on my lunch hour. I remember sitting there, listening to distant sirens. I had heard that many cities were sending out emergency vehicles and such to NYC to help and I assumed our city was one of them. I kept looking up at the sky, but all I saw was the sun, blue sky and fluffy white clouds. I also remember watching a butterfly go by, seeing some little birds land in the courtyard, twittering and looking for food; a squirrel came down to the courtyard, too, making some noise and scoping out the area. A couple of bees showed up and headed towards the flowers. All very sweet, peaceful and NORMAL in a world that had gone completely beserk and out of control in a very short time. I knew life was about to change in a very big way I couldn’t even begin to imagine. I sat and prayed there for awhile and then I ran back into the building. I told my boss I had to leave and go get my kids. I needed to hug my children. When I got to their school, there were many other parents gathered there as well. We were told to go home; they hadn’t told the children anything, they didn’t want to start an uproar. Too late!! We parents started our own. One of my son’s teachers and a good friend of mine came walking down the hall with tears streaming down her face. I grabbed her and said, “what’s going on, Josette?” It seems that her neighbor and friend was the pilot of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. She just walked away, like a zombie. I had a sudden urge to grab the school principal by the lapels of his sports coat, jack him up against the wall and demand the release of my and everyone else’s children or else. I didn’t, but perhaps he sensed it, because not long afterwards I was walking out the door with my arm around my children’s waists. Two days later, I came home from the store and found both son and daughter drawing and coloring pictures in our living room. My son, 7 years old at the time, is a special needs child, and most times, you didn’t really know what his drawings were unless you asked him. However, this day I didn’t have to ask. Two big buildings and two planes in the air. I gasped. But upon closer inspection, the building were intact and you could see the smiling faces of people in the airplane’s windows. I asked my son what the picture was and he said, “It’s 9-11, Mommy. But in my world, the planes don’t crash and the people don’t die.” Out of the mouths of babes. Yup…….I cried.

  3. Your husband’s story is amazing. One of my co-workers had a brother-in-law in one of the towers. I actually went to high school with him.

  4. Dena said

    Amazing story. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to witness that first hand. I was at work at a law office and sat at my desk in tears because I felt an overwhelming urge to be with my husband and children at that moment. It is only by the grace of God that I was actually able to hold it together until I was finished for the day. Once I got in my car, I lost it.

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