9/11/01. Do you remember where you were on that fateful morning? Most of us do. I know I do. On that September morning, I was a new Mom, at home with my 3 month old son, Andrew. We had a routine, even at such a young age, and it was about time to let Andrew sit in his swing and watch the movements on the tv. He got so excited, even if I just let him sit for a few minutes. I knew that around the time Regis and Kelly came on, Andrew would be swinging, and I’d be straightening up the living room, washing bottles, etc. I had just settled Andrew in, and put the news on. They were talking about a plane crash in New York at the World Trade Center. I stood still. I have always been afraid to fly, and the thought of a plane crash was horrifying to me. As I stood and watched, on live tv, another plane hit the second tower at the World Trade Center. I won’t lie, I freaked out, and started to cry. Why was this happening? This couldn’t be an accident. I quickly called my go-to person, my father Rick. He was at work, and I didn’t know if he had heard. My Mother, Sharon, was an elementary school teacher, and at the time, I couldn’t reach her. When my Dad answered, through tears, I asked him “Dad, what is going on, are you ok, how can this be happening?” So many questions.
As the day went on, more and more news came forward. We heard about the other crashes in Pennsylvania and in Washington DC. Again, how could this be happening? I was glued to the television, as were most people. I started getting phone calls from friends, and by early afternoon, my living room was filled with people. No one knew what to do, where to go. From what I can recall, my cousin Barbara came over first. We worked together at Merrill Lynch, in a high rise building, and they let everyone go home. I was on maternity leave, so I called to see what was going on. Shortly thereafter, more friends were there. Gosh…. Paula, Michelle, Lisa….. it was a blur, but I know they were there. I’m not sure why my house was chosen, but there we were, flocked together, looking for comfort and reasoning. By evening, we had to get out of the house, away from the news, and decided to go eat. The restaurant was empty, no noise but the news on tv. The streets were empty too, it’s like the world just stood still. I guess in a way, it did. Nothing like this had ever happened on U.S. soil. Tragedies happen everywhere, but this was so close to home, it was a bit surreal. Still, 16 years later, I remember that day like it was just yesterday. I’m sure many of you do as well, and it’s so sad.
Do you remember when the media mentioned Disney Parks, and worrying about security there? Again, I do. The thought of something happening at say, the Magic Kingdom, with thousands of families visiting, well, it’s unthinkable. I can’t even imagine. For those filled with hatred, a place like Disney would be a prime target. Thank God that never came to be. I know for a long time after 9/11, I was a little scared to go to Disney, or anyplace with large crowds really. The rumor mill was churning, and Disney always seemed to come up. Something like this shouldn’t happen anywhere, let alone Disney. So, I remember reading a lot about the travel industry and how the terrorist attacks affected where people were taking their families to visit. What do you do? Stop going to your favorite destinations out of fear? Some did, some didn’t. We didn’t. By the time Andrew was 11 months old, he had his first vacation to Disney, the following Spring. I won’t lie, I did think about not going. I didn’t fly, we drove, but I was scared to fly even before this. But I didn’t want that same feeling that I had on that horrible day, when life stood still and people were left wondering why. Do we let evil win? Do we live in fear? I say no.
The attacks on 9/11/01 were a senseless, horrendous, and tragic event. It was meant to make a statement. To cause fear among Americans. To remind us that we’re aren’t necessarily safe on our home turf, and that evil can creep in when we least expect it. It’s a hard lesson to learn. But, instead of letting terrorists win, and living in fear, our country went forward. Life didn’t need to stand still, not for long. While most were cautious, and rightfully so, we did push forward, we did go out and live our lives. We had to. So, today we remember those who tragically died that September morning. I can’t even imagine the horror they went through, or what their loved ones must have been feeling, and will always feel on this day. America as a country did persevere, we did show our strength, and will continue to do so. They can’t steal our joy, our hope, or our faith in goodness. God Bless the victims, the service men and women who bravely stepped up to help, and the families they all leave behind. You won’t be forgotten, and we will always, always remember. ~M
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