Today marks the eleventh anniversary of one of the most tragic events in our nation's history. I think that we all will forever remember precisely where we were and exactly what we were doing on that fateful morning. I watched the horror unfold on television from the comfort and safety of my Florida home. No, I wasn't in New York City that day, but my frequent guest blogger Michelle Wilson was. And on this occasion, I feel compelled to reflect on the events of September 11, 2001 through the personal story of someone who was there...
11, 2001, I was sitting in the unemployment office in , a Freeport, New
York Long Island
suburb of —less
than an hour away. I had accepted a position with a real estate appraisal firm,
although I really did not want the job. My son was almost four and in
preschool, my seven-month-old baby girl was waiting for me at home, and I was
pregnant with my last baby. What I was thinking to accept this position I don’t
know (the job lasted three days—I couldn’t bear to be away from my baby girl),
but I had to meet with the unemployment people and make it official. As I
waited, and waited, and waited, growing more frustrated and annoyed, I couldn’t
imagine what could be causing this delay. Even for a government-run office,
this was ridiculous. Finally, after what seemed like half a day, a woman came
out and apologized for the delay. It seemed there was some situation in NYC
involving a plane flying into one of the Manhattan .
Her daughter worked there, and she had finally made contact with her and she
was ok. Thinking this was just a random bizarre accident, we proceeded with our
appointed meeting and concluded it in a timely fashion. Twin Towers
I left the building and got back into my car, beginning the thirty-minute drive back home. The radio was delivering the panicked news—PLANES were flying into the
Pentagon—what? A plane was hijacked and eternal heroes eventually emerged. Here
I am, pregnant, hormonal, driving by myself, one kid in preschool thirty
minutes away, my mother babysitting my seven-month-old daughter at home, and my
then-husband at work—also thirty minutes away in the other direction.
Frantically calling everyone at once while driving as quickly as possible to
reach my house, crying and truly believing that a nuclear missile was about to
blow Long Island off the map, I thought I would never reach home. My husband
left work to pick up my son and we all stayed glued to the TV as the horrific
events unfolded. Twin
My son went to preschool in
about a twenty-minute ride from home. That town lost so many firefighters and
police, including parents of children from my son’s preschool. There were
countless police-escorted funerals through that town. I stood on Farmingdale, New York Main Street for every one them to support
these fallen heroes. My hometown lost two men in particular, Rich Bruehert, a
friend of mine from long ago who worked in one of the towers, and Brian
McAleese, a city firefighter. In a strange and ironic twist of fate, Rich dated a woman
for years, and then they ended their relationship. She then dated and married
Brian and they had four children. Both of these men lost their lives.
Everyone has different memories of this day—I think there are few people who could say that they don’t recall exactly where they were and what they were doing. This is not an easy story to write, I will say that. I feel as if I am reliving it while I type and the images and emotions it evokes are fresh and brutal. I’m always haunted by the memories, but the one thought that always remains foremost in my mind is the woman from the unemployment office. I think about her all the time. Did her daughter really make it out? I pray for them every time I think of it but I will never know. I just keep picturing over and over the crumbling implosion of those buildings, and I say a prayer for all those whose lost lives forever changed the shape of our twisted world.
Author Christopher Long's latest book,
is available NOW on Amazon.