It seems like yesterday when I woke up, made some coffee and got my oldest son off to school. My younger children were not in school yet and I thought it was strange that they were still sleeping. I took advantage of my “alone time” and turned on “The Today Show.” and saw an image of the World Trade Center on fire and Katie Couric and Matt Lauer were reporting it was believed a plane had crashed into one of the towers.
I got a sick feeling in my stomach and said to myself, “this doesn’t look good.” As I was watching, I clearly saw a plane hit the other tower and thought “what are the odds of that happening?” Then reality started sinking in that this could be a possible terrorist attack. I immediately tried calling my husband, who was a pilot and flying that morning. I couldn’t remember where he was flying to because he was in the middle of a four-day trip. There was no answer on his phone, so I left a message. Not long after, another plane had crashed into a Pennsylvania field. I was thinking — “What the heck is going on here? Is this a terrorist attack? Why are they flying planes into buildings? Are my kids safe? Where’s my husband? Was he one of the pilots one any of those planes?”
Many things were going through my mind and honestly, I was scared. Later, I realized that was fear of the unknown and I knew things would never be the same.
I called my sister who lived about three hours away in Pennsylvania (we lived in Ohio then) and we made sure our families were safe. My husband finally called me and said he was in Cleveland and was heading to his plane headed to Nashville. I asked him if he knew what was going on? He didn’t have a clue. I told him and he said he’d call me back as soon as he could.
My younger kids finally woke up and I gave them breakfast. They were 1 and 3 at the time, so they didn’t understand what was going on. I put on Barney and called my mom and dad and other family members to make sure they were safe. I put the kids in the double stroller and we walked to my oldest son’s elementary school. Teachers were out directing the kids and parents were walking around with bewildered looks on their faces (I’m sure I was one of them).
My husband called me and said all flights were canceled and he was coming home but they weren’t letting anyone leave airport so he was stranded there all day. When he finally got home hours later, I felt a sense of relief and security that my family was together.
My heart went out to those who died that September day and to their families. People just went off to work and never came home. Heroic firefighters went into the Twin Towers and never came out. It was a sad and tragic day for our country; but somehow brought us together. For a brief moment in time, our petty differences didn’t seem to matter and we were the United States of America.
Staff Writer Noelle Olson can be reached at 651-407-1229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.