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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

There are two dates in history when tragic events occurred in American history that I will forever remember where I was.

The first:  April 19, 1995 - The bombing of Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City.  I am a native Oklahoman.  I was born and raised here.  I still live here.  My husband works in downtown OKC now.  And on that morning, I was sitting in Mrs. Johnson's 6th grade class, when a classmate came in and said "There was a building bombed in Oklahoma City".  No one knew what was going on, but as we started getting more information, we watched the news.  At home, I watched the horror and devastation on the news.  I remember the picture of the fireman holding the baby that he had brought out of the rubble.  I remember our 6th grade classes learning to sign "From a Distance" by Bette Midler.  I remember when they imploded the rest of the building...I watched it live on National t.v.  I remember it all.

I also remember thinking during that time, I hoped that event would be the worst I would see in my lifetime.  I hoped and prayed for no other devastating, tragic, and horrendous act to happen.  If only.

The second:  September 11, 2001.  I was freshman at the University of Oklahoma.  I remember listening to KJ103 when driving in to park on the South Oval and heard that a plane had struck a building in New York City.  At that time, there were no details on what building, what kind of plane, nothing.  I remember thinking that it must have been an accident...a pilot fell engine failure.  I got to campus, parked my car, and headed into my Gateway class.  Gateway was that class for incoming freshman to take to help them transition from high school to college...they especially recommended it if you came from a high school as small as mine.  I remember sitting there, waiting for class to start, when Lauren Shoush came in and told us what they were reporting.  Do I remember anyone else's name in that class?  Nope.  But, I remember Lauren's, because I remember that day.  I watched the news in the Union that showed the Twin Towers falling.  I watched as they talked about the plane that went down in Pennsylvania...I watched all day as I waited for my only other class that afternoon.  But, even as I got to that class, I found it was cancelled due to the awful events of that day.

So many lives lost.  So many more since then as our country fights this war on terror.  So many broken hearts, families who are hurting, families who are forever changed because of these events.

Today, and everyday, I remember those who lost their lives on that September morning.  I also remember those who have given their lives serving our country.  I hold those who are still serving close to my heart and keep them in my prayers.

What events do you remember exactly where you were when they occurred?


Dana said...

I don't remember where I was when the Oklahoma City bombing happened, probably at school. I remember watching it on TV though and seeing that picture of the firefighter holding the baby. Her name was Bailey. Of course, I couldn't even begin to understand her Mother's pain. Now I have an idea of what it was, and is, like. I wanted to name a baby Bailey for years after that, and still do, but it isn't one of Ted's favourites.

On 9/11, I was at work. I was trying to get suspension letters out to members who hadn't paid their annual fees. I hated sending them out. A colleague had the radio on and said that a plane flew into the World Trade Center. I felt a cold shiver go through me. We all stopped what we were doing, looking online for more information, listening to the radio and watching the news online at a different colleague's desk. I called my Mom and told her to get up and turn on the TV right away. At first I thought it must have been a small plane and the pilot had a heart attack or something and it was an terrible accident. But then we found out it was a passenger plane. And then it happened again. And then the pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania. Some tall office towers in Toronto were closed, just in case.

My fried and I were supposed to go to New York on September 14th. We had the airplane tickets and the hotel booked. The trip was cancelled. Friends, family and coworkers all came to my desk and told me they didn't want us to go, just in case there would be more attacks. We had originally planned to go the weekend before but changed our plans because of work. If we had gone that weekend, we would have gone to the WTC and we would have gotten back home just 10 hours before the attack happened.

I've been to Manhattan 3 times since then and have gone to the WTC 2 of those times. We saw it before they started to rebuild and we saw it being rebuilt. We plan to go again next time to see the finished product. Just seeing it on TV brings tears to my eyes. I just can't even fathom the the magnitude of the loss that day and in the subsequent war.

Elaine said...

I remember where I was when we heard Princess Di died. I've never been a big fan of the Royals but I always thought she was so beautiful and watched her wedding as a little toddler.
I remember where I was for Oklahoma and Columbine.
I remember where I was on 9/11. I remember originally thinking everyone was just being paranoid and there was no way the building was hit on purpose. Then I watched live on tv as the second plane hit. I was working in retail then and even here in Toronto they closed the big mall nearby for the evening because they were afraid something would happen hear. At the time I was also a frequent flier and never got on a plane again without wondering, "what are you going to do if someone hijacks it?"
I think that was the biggest, even for us Canadians. It was the first time for me anyway where I thought, "it could happen anywhere." Not just in some wartorn country but anywhere.
I remember even then thinking of the little girl that was on the second plane, a 2 year old, flying with her parents. I wondered what crossed her mother's mind when she realized her daughter was about to die. How tightly she must have held her as they flew towards the building.

Violet1122 said...

I was just about to leave the house to go teach school (it was for 1st grade) and I saw on the news about the first plane hitting the WTC. Just as I had gathered my stuff and went to grab my keys, the 2nd plane hit.

I was in shock. But I was already running late, and I had to get to school. On the way there, I listened to the radio. It was complete chaos - there were rumors at the time about a bomb at the White House and other hijacked planes. I seriously thought the US was being invaded.

Got to school, and had to start the school day. We had no TV or radio in our classroom, so for the morning I carried on our regular day as best I could - scared to death about what was happening.

During lunch, I went to the office where we watched the news on TV. It was there I learned about the towers falling, the Pentagon, the plane in Pennsylvania, and all of the devastation.

It was so hard to go back to my little 1st graders and continue on. Actually, most parents came to pick up their kids. By the end of the day, there were only a few kids left in class.

Normally, I stayed after school for quite awhile, but that day I went home ASAP.

I remember going to bed that night thinking that everything would be different now.

I also thought about how someday, in the future, there would be crazy people who would try to come up with some twisted conspiracy theory, and tell these lies as "facts". This happens with so many major historical events.

I thought that day would come when I was old. I imagined I would have to correct my grandchildren on what the real facts were about 9/11.

I had no idea it would be happening within a couple of years. Makes me sick.

I watched a video of some 9/11 footage today, and it was just as horrifying and sickening as the day I watched it for the first time. God Bless those innocent people and their families...

Shan said...

My first big bad memory was the explosion of the shuttle. I was in ninth grade, sitting in band. Some of the kids made stupid jokes and I thought the teacher was going to have a heart attack. It was a national tragedy made more personal by the loss of a teacher who had won the right to be there.

The bombing in OKC was the second. I was relieved to be home in California as my son and I had returned after I separated from his father. We were in OKC the following July, though, for my son's second birthday. We didn't go look. It was heartbreaking enough to see it on the news.

September 11 was the third. I think I heard about it on the radio while getting ready for work. The thing is, I have memories of images from that morning, but I know I didn't have the TV on while my son was up... and it would have been unusual for me to put it on in the morning. My son was in third grade. I told him a little about what I'd heard and then talked with him about the things he might hear at school. Sure enough, kids told him that LA was next. I am still baffled by the fact that they got that info from adults. I drove past a busy airport to and from work... it was eerie to see empty skies.