Everyone has a September 11 story. This is mine.
On that fateful day, we awakened to perfect blue skies and a hint of fall in the air - much like today. My children were 14, 8 and 7, and we'd begun our homeschooling day without turning on the TV.
About mid-morning, my mom phoned us. I was screening my calls since we were working, but I heard her voice on the answering machine. She was hysterical and I couldn't understand what she was saying, so I picked up the phone. She was crying and ranting and raving about bombs and war and she told me that the World Trade Center building had fallen. She also said things about the Pentagon, the White House, the Capitol Building, and various other places. She told me we'd been attacked. At that moment, I honestly thought my mom had finally cracked up.
When I tried to get sense out of her, she just kept crying and telling me that the World Trade Center building had fallen. Not knowing what had happened, I thought it had fallen over - you know, across Manhattan, or out into the water. She wasn't making any sense, and I just kept asking her what she was talking about. Finally, she told me to turn on the TV. That's when it all became real for me and I saw the devastating reality of what was happening to our country.
Like the rest of America on that terrible morning, I sat stunned, watching helplessly, as the next building fell, as the Pentagon burned, as reports of another plane crash was reported, and as all the air travel in the country was grounded.
After a while, I noticed that my children were huddled up against me, staring wide-eyed at the television screen. They asked many questions, for which I had no answers. I could only hug them and assure them that they were safe there with me, though I had no idea if that was true. It was a terrifying time for our nation, and it changed many things for us. Seven years later, it seems as though it was yesterday.
This morning, before my girls left for school, we looked outside to see an almost identical blue-sky day, and we paused for a moment.
And we remembered.
Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes