Where Were You...on September 11, 2001?

Tuesday, October 9, 2001
Suburbia, California


To freeze that September Morn, 9-11-01, in words,  I wrote in my journal:

"I was in that gauzy dream state, pale and evanescent, just the way I like it before I ease into awakedness, when my husband, DH,  roused me. In a stricken, but quiet tone, he said, "Something bad's happening." 

I recognized the tone, the same one when he broke the news to me, ten years earlier, that we had lost our best buddy, Wayne, to a first and fatal heart attack. 

I stared hard into his face. I saw that same deep concern and maybe more. I snapped myself awake. 

I'm on my feet, suddenly aware of a serious and urgent voice on the television in the family room. I rush to follow DH.  In silence, we stand transfixed on an image of a skyscraper with heart-stopping, billowing plumes of black smoke against a backdrop of clear blue skies.  

Not knowing what the heck is happening, I am momentarily frustrated and impatient. My eyes are taking it all in; my mind is frantically trying to make sense of it:  That's New York City.  A skyscraper.  On fire. Lots of smoke.  

This is live. In real time. This is actually happening RIGHT NOW. 

I am still baffled, my mind is a jumble of rapid-fire thoughts: People inside. Trapped like rats! Hurting. Fire. Burning. Scenes from Backdraft, the movie, flash by.  A fireman's worst nightmare.

"A plane hit the World Trade Center," says DH,  getting me up to speed.  We're standing in front of the television, watching the live images, hand in hand; feet, bare.

Aghast, I manage to ask: "What happened?"

Before DH has a chance to answer, to the right of the screen comes another plane.  It's headed toward the other tower.  Crash.  A burst of fire. Swallowed up whole by the tower. Smoke and debris.

I gasp at the horrific images: "Oh my Gawwwwwd!"  Those people in the plane, in the tower. Alive, one second ago.  Now gone. Incinerated. Gone.

The realization that this is no accident smacks me hard.  One plane hitting the tower is an accident.  Two, this is no accident. 

"This is like a movie," says DH. I nod in agreement. This is surreal.  I am disbelieving. 

A terrorist attack. This is INCOMPREHENSIBLE. I too have the sense that I'm watching a movie.  A woozy, surreal one. Like The War of the Worlds.  

Images of Leslie Neilsen in pilot attire then flash through my mind, followed by comical terrorist scenes from Airplane!  I'm not laughing. This real-time "movie" is not funny. 

I grant myself the luxury of three seconds of feeling terrorized.  After being momentarily immobilized,  I collect myself.  Though I feel helpless, I can pray for those trapped in the towers. I dispatch a quick prayer: "Take care of them." 

I then learn that the Pentagon has been hit by yet another plane. Three planes down.  Pentagon hit.  The World Trade Center hit.  Another plane, unaccounted for, headed for Los Angeles.  The movie, Air Force One with Harrison Ford as President, pops into mind. 

I snap back into reality, however much I'd love for it to be a movie. My hackles are raised, and I react with anger and wonderment:  "Darn them! Who could have that much hate to do this? And  WHY?! What could possibly explain what's happening?" 

I experience a massive collision of emotions of sadness, disgust, despair, shock, and anger.  From that jumble, it is vulnerability that I feel most. I feel exposed.  Exposed to great harm.  I ask.  No, I beg: God, help us. We need you."

Instantaneously, I get back my answer: "Be prepared." Yes, You got it.  God helps those who help themselves.  Nothing's changed.

I telepath: "I'll do my part; You do Yours.  Thanks." The next instant, my mind is churning,  thinking of possibilities, implications, and ramifications.  

The vulnerability of our water supply comes to mind.  I turn to my husband, "Okay, DH. Get down to the store.  Now.  Pick up water. Canned goods. Lots of water."

DH puts on a pair of long pants.  As he rushes out the door, I kiss him, thinking that maybe this is goodbye for good. I look him straight in the eye: "If there is any danger out there, come back.  Do NOT risk your life. Is that clear?"

He nods, hugs me once more, and he's off.  The open-all-night supermarket is down the street, just a minute or two away.  I'm envisioning a run on supplies.  Clambering chaos, even. Another prayer, another one-liner: "Protect."

In the meantime, with one ear on the news reports and the other for DH's return,  I fill up every water receptacle in the house and both bathtubs.  I then take a quick inventory of our already stocked disaster-preparedness supplies.  We are prepared, or so we think.

DH returns with bottled water and canned provisions.  He was gone for minutes.  They felt like hours."No one was there." 

I mutter, "What are people thinking?" 

I visualize immobilized friends and neighbors, glued to their sets.  In shock.  Unprepared. Almost annoyed, I think: "Don't they know, in any emergency, water is key to survival!

We re-rivet our eyes back to the television.  I update DH. Plane to LA still unaccounted for. And then, in horror, we watch the first tower crumble. 

Thousands in transition. Innocent people.  Loved ones. Family members. Killed. Dying. Terrified. Suffering. 

I am beyond mortification.  Groping for words to describe what I am feeling, I find there are none. This is simply beyond the pale.

Where emotions fail, the analytical mind fills in, assessing the results: "Give credit where credit is due.  That is one masterpiece of a terrorist act. Felling the tower. Incredible." 

Zombie-like, I get ready for work, as I listen intently to the news.  I decide, "I will suck it up, pull it together. I will keep on keeping on."  We have a substantial breakfast, one that will fortify us, just in case...

The second tower falls.  Another prayer for wayshowing help for transitioning souls.

I'm not expecting anyone to show up at work, given the enormity of the events.  But if anyone does, I'll be there. I'll drive my car instead of being dropped off by DH on the way to his work, a half-hour away, just in case I need to get home in a hurry.  Two miles in an emergency is a long way to hoof it home.  Practicalities.

Before I leave, I check to see that the bathroom doors are open.  The furkids may need access to water, just in case we don't make it home.

We hug the furkids and give them a treat apiece, and resolutely and yes, bravely, march out into a dangerous new world. 

On this September morning, the world has changed, but I will remain true.  I will be of help, not harm, remembering "...the Light is what the darkness most fears".

I can. I will. I must.




At work, today, one of my co-workers mentioned that these events may be part of a grand conspiratorial plan.  He's convinced it is an inside job.

Google brought up a slew of conspiracy theory articles. Hmmm....paranoids?  P.T. Barnums? Or do they know something we don't?     85% trash; 15% ... buried truth? Note:  these are not for the faint-hearted, skeptics, bah-hogwashers, or those who disdain mind-bending.

Lurking just beneath the calm, composed surface, I am dealing with elemental, conflicting passions: love and hate, anger and pain, fear and hope, grief and joy.

Today's gift:  I remembered that there is only one lesson I have yet to fully learn:  The only lesson is love.

"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, September 29, 2001.
September Morn 2001