September 11, 2011

9/11: Then and Now

Ten years ago this morning, we were visiting my in-laws and I was sitting in my mother-in-law’s living room watching “Regis and Kelly” when the first bits of horrible news interrupted the program. My mother-in-law lived in a house where her business was on the floor below. Mr. BBM and she went downstairs to tell people what was going on. I stayed upstairs with my 5 month old baby. When the second plane hit, I just remember the absolutely bone-chilling terror that swept through me. I grabbed my baby and ran downstairs to tell them what had happened. It wasn’t long before the Pentagon was hit too and we were all glued to the TV, wondering when, if, it would end.

As the morning wore on, the news of the plane crash in Shanksville arrived on the TV. Mr. BBM’s dad was out making sales calls that day in that area. We tried to get him on his phone but couldn’t. Later, when we were finally able to get in touch with him, we were all so relieved. I remember thinking about all the families that day who would not be getting that relief.

We went to bed that night with CNN on the TV. I was almost too terrified to sleep. I was afraid something else would happen. I didn’t sleep well that night at all. The constant lingering thought in my head was, “What kind of world did I bring my daughter into?” We wondered how we would get back home, if we could get home. The country had been shut down.

A few days later, we made our way back on the PA turnpike. It was deserted except for a few lone cars. I remember being afraid a lot of the time after 9/11. I was worried someone would attack the mall. I didn’t want to go to big sporting events or concerts. I wanted to be less of a target. Within a few months, Mr. BBM had a job where he was traveling all the time. It was a huge stress on me every time he got on another airplane. The cross-country flights scared me the most. Eventually, I learned to relax a bit, but never entirely.

Ten years later, I am 24 days away from my due date with our third baby. We live in a society where we’ve been told to have an emergency family plan. We live in a country where we have a terror alert system and sit on constant “high alert.” I’ve had relatives and friends stationed overseas in the fight against terrorism. Every year, I watch the list of names being read. I watch the “looking back” specials. This year, we watched them with Big I who is now 10 years old. Although we will never forget, we move on each year with hope; hope that our daughters and our soon-to-arrive son will never, in their lifetimes, experience another tragedy like we experienced on that day.

May God bless all of the families who lost a loved one that day; and may we never forget.

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