I went to my publisher’s office with the intension of asking him for direction. As I entered his office, the second plane hit. He was watching it on his office TV. We both stood for several moments in silence. I had to find a seat. I could hardly breath. (Am taking a break now. I can hardly gather my thoughts.)
My parents thought I was in New York because this was the week I was going to go on vacation. Rodney and I were suppose to leave on the ninth. Daddy was in Knoxville for a meeting and I could not reach him. So when my phone began ringing with information I began writing my story.
My friend at the Secret Service gave me some invaluable information so when Randy showed up to pick up Andy I relayed to him that he really needed to get back to Georgia ASAP as the interstates were about to be closed. He, like a lot of people, that early thought there was nothing to worry about. So I let them go.
I called momma and she was hysterical. She had had a dream the previous night about bombs, fires, and my niece (her grand daughter) had been kidnaped by terrorists. She was unconsolable.
Everyone went nuts. Gas prices went up. I called Rodney and he tried to collect all our vehicles to fill them up but the gas lines were way too long. The gas stations were not only gouging on their prices but were also limiting the amount of gas one could pump.
The story for me began when I reached NYC six weeks later. When I arrived, I expected everything to be somber. It was not. People were running around here and there like nothing had happened..... at least in midtown Manhattan. Movies were still running, Broadway plays were still on time, people were still rushing to and from work. It was a harsh reminder that life still goes on even if we don’t. It hurt.
As I walked closer toward ground zero though, I realized that while people were going about their own business I saw ever increasing signs that there was something wrong. After walking through Greenwich Village and reaching the Canal Street Station there was, what I thought, a tribute to the people who died in the collapse. It turned out to be a candle-light vigil with pictures posted on the wall. Each of them asked questions– have you seen my mother, my cousin, my daughter, my brother, my child. It was all I could do not to break down. All these people were just walking by like it was nothing.
When I reached Grand Central Station, it was the same, just on a much bigger scale. I hurt for these parents, children and families. It made me feel so small compared to their great loss. While in NY I took lots of pictures, but have never written about my own experience.
Now, 11 years later, I am finally able to put a part of my feelings into words. Perhaps I will be able to write more later. My hope is that all will remember that a piece of our hearts were broken on that day and that we will always think what that day meant to us, individually, as it unfolded.
Since that day, my son David Michael has served in Iraq and thankfully returned home unharmed. I have been blessed with a wonderful daughter-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren.
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