Nine eleven. 911. 9/11. 9-11.
No matter how you write it or how you say it, those of us in the USA know what it means, don’t we?
Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001?
I was driving by the Pentagon, having just left to return to South Carolina. My then-husband and I had driven to Arlington to take my almost six-month-old nephew home to his parents. We spent the night of the 10th, then got up on the 11th to drive home. We had planned to leave between 8 am and 8:30 but it was more like 8:45 when we actually left my sister’s house.
As we approached the Pentagon, I wondered aloud why there were police officers everywhere and why there were roadblocks being set up on the entrance and exit ramps.
Because we were listening to an audio book, we didn’t have the radio on. Shortly, though, the cell phone rang. We heard that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Immediately, we switched from listening to the book to listening to the radio.
We continued to drive south, trying to get news and trying to figure out what had happened. Soon, we learned of the second plane attack on the World Trade Center. And then the Pentagon crash. And then the news about the Pennsylvania crash.
This was more than the mind could fathom. During some stretches along I-95, it was difficult to get clear radio signals, but we picked up bits and pieces as much as possible. It became clear that the country was under attack.
We started looking for an American flag to put on the car. We were determined to show our pride in America. At the first exit, we couldn’t find an American flag to purchase. Nor could we find one at the next exit. Or the next. In fact, it took us many stops and about 200 miles to find a flag. We bought several.
It many ways, it was a long drive home. My son lived in Arlington and worked at the Department of Justice in D.C. I couldn’t reach him by phone. It took a while to reach my sister and brother-in-law. I was anxious about family and friends in New York and in D.C.
It’s been seven years. I remember it like it was yesterday.
What about you? Where were you? What were your thoughts?