It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it… How the world has changed in ‘just’ 10 years.
I was on my way into work in Houston. I was listening to the radio in my car, and the DJs mentioned that a plane had just crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in NYC. They were laughing about it, saying how stupid the pilot must have been to hit the tower, even if they were on autopilot. Of course, at that time, the world thought that they were talking about a small 2 or 4-seater airplane. At least that’s what those DJs were talking about.
Then they got an update that a 2nd plane had crashed into the 2nd tower. I was making the U-turn to get into my parking garage. As I found a parking spot, they were talking about how it appeared to be an attack on the US, and they were targeting large buildings. I worked on the 19th floor of a building in the medical center in Houston, and I remember wondering if I needed to go home. But I would be alone there. And I knew that I couldn’t be alone. I went to my desk, and my co-workers had turned on the TV that normally sat outside my cubicle for the ladies to watch their soap operas at lunch. That’s when I found out that the Pentagon had also been hit. We watched for a few minutes, until we remembered that there was a big-screen TV on the floor down, in the corporate conference room that we used for video conferences. The whole company of 150 people tried to get into that room to figure out what was going on. I was on the phone at the same time, trying to get in touch with my best friend; her father worked in the Pentagon sometimes, and she lived and worked in DC. Of course, I couldn’t get in touch with her. (He was not in the building that day, thank goodness.)
I majored in Foreign Affairs in college, and just could not understand this attack. I hadn’t learned anything that would make this make sense. I had even interviewed with the National Security Agency (NSA). My, how different my life would have been.
In the next few days, I received calls from the host family I lived with in Switzerland and my French ex-boyfriend.
No one should understand what had happened or why. But we all grieved together.
Despite the nation’s ability to come together in the aftermath of extreme tragedy, over the past 10 years, the nation has split apart. Bi-partisan politics, two wars, and an economic crisis has divided our people. I would like to think that we do not need another tragedy to bring us back together.
What were you doing when you heard about the tragedies on September 11, 2001?