I remember it so clearly.
I was wearing an olive green blouse with ruffled sleeves and my favorite jeans. It was Tuesday morning and my twin sister and I were getting ready for morning classes. It was our sophomore year in college. The news was blaring in the background but I couldn’t hear what was going on over my hair dryer.
Suddenly, my sister came rushing over to tell me the breaking news: “A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!”
I thought, ‘How could that happen? Did the engine fail? Did the pilot have a heart attack?’
I walked out in time to see the second plane flying with deadly intention. We watched, horrified and helpless, as the reporter narrated our exact thoughts… “No. No. No. NO!”
There was a collective understanding in that moment:
We are not indestructible.
New York is under attack.
On September 11, 2001, every monument, every densely populated area, every place of significance in the United States seemed a potential target.
We called my mother at the office. We called everyone we knew. They knew someone in the city, in the towers. “She saw the plane from her office window…” “Her building shook!” “They are being evacuated.”
Reports continued throughout the day: Another hijacked plane. A crash at the Pentagon. Yet another hijacked plane. A crash in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It felt like every plane that had not been grounded was doomed. All at once the entire country stopped and waited for the next blow.
And then panic set in as I remembered my dear friend, in that moment, was on a plane. I wondered if he knew what was happening. An overwhelming feeling of helplessness washed over me. I prayed while I cried.
I believed the world would end that day as the towers crumbled into dust. Indeed, the world as I knew it was gone – within a matter of hours.
I wanted to do something. I needed to fight back. My sister and I spent the day gathering the community, inviting them to join us in the only thing we had the power to do on that heart-wrenching day.
We packed into our house of worship and we prayed.
Thank you for joining us as we remember what was lost on that day and in the many days following.
Where were you on Tuesday, September 11, 2001? Please share your story below in the comments.