Monday, September 10, 2012

11 Years Later

I will get back to posting about my vacation soon, but I wanted to say a little about tomorrow's anniversary as it is a unique one.

I will start as I always do with my recollection of Septemeber 10, 2011. I always think of it as the last day of normal and the only thing I can remember about the day is that I went to Michael's after work.

The anniversary of September 11 is unique this year as it is the first time since the original day that it falls on a Tuesday. So I think the memories are a little stronger for me this year.

I've probably told this story before, but I will again. I lived in California and worked at St. Joseph Healthcare. At that time I started work at 6:30 in the morning. My commute was about 30 minutes so I was listening to the radio at about 6am that morning west coast time and it was 9am on the east coast and the first plane had hit the tower.

I was listening to Jamie and Danny in the morning on Star 98.7. They started talking about a story they were hearing of a plane hitting one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York. My first thought when they mentioned this was that that was the building that had been bombed by terrorists a few years prior. I found it very hard to believe that this was a coincidence, but I clung to that shred of hope.

They were watching CNN in their radio studio and talking to someone when it was mentioned that there was an explosion. Whoever they were talking to said that it was probably the jet fuel from the airplane that had already crashed causing an explosion.

Jamie said "Where did that plane go? There was another plane" She kept repeating this, saying that she saw another plane fly behind the tower, but it didn't come out.

I knew then that this was no coincidence or accident and something was very wrong.

When I got to my desk I turned on the radio. Everyone did. Not much work got done. I think I got only one call from one of my hospitals checking on the status of their claims. I went across the street on my breaks and lunch to watch the TV in the ER (we worked across from the hospital). I took a coworker to the hospital chapel to pray.

It was overcast in Orange County that day so I imagined that it was like that in New York. It was quite a shock to see that thick smoke against a brilliant blue sky. It made it seem more surreal.

When the towers fell I was listening to the radio. I did not see that fottage until I got home that day and I could not leave the couch for a few hours.

I made 2 improtant phone calls that day. One was to my best friend to see of she was watching. She was asleep and I told her she might want to get up and watch the TV as something bad was happening. I explained what it was. The other call was to my friend who worked near the capitol in Washington DC. Her office had gone to a coworker's house a safe distance away to watch what was happening on TV.

I reached a point where I did not want to watch anymore. I wanted to watch regular TV. However, there was no regular TV. We did not have cable and even our local public access stations were streaming coverage from local news stations. I finally found one obscure fuzzy channel that was showing Bonanza. I was never so happy to see Bonanza!

The following days were a blur. I know it was weird not see planes to the North of us going towards LAX. I kept thinking that whoever you saw on the street you knew that somewhere in their mind they were thinking about what happened. That was weird. I had never experienced something like that.

I hope to never experience anything like that ever again.

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