Monday, September 10, 2012

When the World Stopped

 It has taken me a year to write this.  I tried to finish it last year.
I just couldn't put it into words.

With the anniversary of one of the most tragic days in America's history on Tuesday, people are asking the same question.
Where were you on September 11th, 2001?

I am sure not many people forget where they are when bad news comes to them.
Whether it is of personal, or National importance.

I myself know where I was when the Space Shuttle exploded.  I was at school. 6th grade.
I also know where I was when we got the call that my father-in-law had passed. I was about to leave work.
I got the call from my wife, and ran out. Then drove like mad to be home with her.
But this is about a different day.

Here is my story.
It was a normal day just like every other.  Well, almost like any other.
My wife was seven months along with our first child.
We were excited, and scared.  And I had a list to do a mile long.
I had gotten up early that day to get my driver's license renewed.
It was my birthday. I turned 28 on that day.

I mistakenly thought the DMV opened earlier than it did.  So I had to wait for them to open to get the license.
I found a payphone and called work to tell them I would be a little late.
It didn't take long.  I was one of the first in line.
After getting my license, I decided I would stop by home and take care of nature's business.
While driving home, I heard on the radio that a plane had hit a building.  I turned up the volume and listened.
After getting home, I turned on the tv and watched.
Smoke was pouring out of the tower.  Going up into the blue sky.
The newscasters were still trying to come to grips with the reports pouring in.

Then the second plane hit.
Debris was falling.  You could see smoke and fire pouring out of the hole in the building.
People were running for cover.  Emergency vehicles were all headed towards the twin towers.
I had to get to work.
I listened to the radio all the way there.

After arriving at work, I was called into the supervisor's office.
Given a scolding for getting my license before work and not on my lunch hour.
Because I was using her time to get it and not mine.
I didn't even try to explain that it would have taken me a half hour to drive to the DMV.
An hour to wait with everyone else for my turn.
And then another half hour to drive back.  Which would have taken more time than just doing it in the morning.
I was then sent back to my desk.
Didn't we have bigger concerns that day?

I worked in a call center then.  We called current customers to get their orders for that week.
Not many people I talked to were very happy that day.
I could hear a television in the background of many of the calls.
We even had one at the end of our hall that day.
When we could, we would walk down and watch for a few minutes if we had time.

I saw the towers fall.
I saw the clouds of dust and rubble roll down the streets.
The cameras captured the horror and screams as buildings and people came crashing to the ground.
They captured the last glimpse of heroes as they rushed into hell.
And the sorrow of their brothers when they didn't come out.
The rest of the day is a blur.

In the days that followed, there were stories.
Of the people who fought back against their oppressors to save more lives.  Even knowing they may not survive.
The ones who got out last.  The ones who would never get out.
Messages left on machines that will never be erased.
A "goodbye.  I will miss you.  I love you".  From loved ones never to be seen again.

People who saw friends fall.  As they stepped out windows that were never made to open.
And the saviors.  Who carried others who couldn't carry themselves.
Rescue workers, looking for any sign of life.  Any sign of hope, that anyone could be there.

And the flag.  Hoisted from the rubble to pull our country together.
The symbol of the very thing that people tried to destroy that day.

It is a day of tragedy and a day of life.
September 11th.   Remember everyone this day.

No comments:

Post a Comment