I clearly remember waking up the morning of 9/11/01.
I was a sophomore at the University of Central Florida then. My phone had been buzzing next to my head for a few minutes, the same person calling over and over. I kept hitting ignore. Naturally, I’d stayed up too late the night before, doing God-knows-what – after all, I was a college kid!
After multiple phone calls finally woke me up, I saw that it was my friend Marie, who lived on a different floor in my dorm building, calling. I shook the sleep out of my eyes and picked up the phone, never expecting to hear frantic sobbing on the other end. I could barely understand what Marie was saying, but I understood that something horrible had happened, and her mother, who was in the military and was at the Pentagon, was unreachable. She finally told me to turn on the TV and I was shocked at the images before my eyes.
I wrote this quote down in my records that day – “We are going to wake up tomorrow a different country. Our luck has run out.” This was said by Jeff Greenfield, who was at the time on CNN. The quote really struck me back then as I thought about what was to come in this new United States that I would grow up in and have children in. Truly, the next day did feel even more surreal, with memorials and vigils all over campus. I remember thinking to myself that I had to watch and remember so one day I could explain to my children what this time was like for our country. There are just a few other times after that I remember feeling like that – the need to take it in and remember – watching TV with my husband when we bombed Iraq with “shock and awe”, seeing coverage of the space shuttle Columbia disaster on television, the day we finally caught Bin Laden.
September 11, 2001 was the day the world was forever changed, and a time when I was most proud to be an American.
Being the always-technological person that I am, I saved many of my online conversations with friends from this day and recorded a number of thoughts in my computer journal. And of course, I was always checking the various news sources online. When I clicked on to CNN that day it made me feel just as scared of the future as I had felt when I turned on the TV that morning. Because CNN had never looked like this before. And it’s never looked like this again since.
I’ve saved these screen shots – from computer to computer to computer to computer (I’ve had around five computers since then, actually) because they are a part of technology and history that I hope to share with my children one day. The stark white space on the CNN page, with no other news stories to speak of, brought home the importance and terror of this unfathomable day.
Today my blog is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the horrible attack on the United States, and to the Police, Firefighters, other first-responders, and Military who also died performing heroic acts that day, and to those who selflessly dedicate their lives today to protecting our wonderful country. God Bless America.
*American Flag photo found at Wallpaper World (http://imageworldblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/american-flag-pictures-and-wiki.html)