What goes up: Remembering Sept 11

I don’t want to say I jinxed myself in my last post, but let’s just say that over the past weekend, I was not running around in the sun, but rather, hugging the porcelain throne.  Apparently, I’m not as recovered as I thought.  So, it’s back to the bland diet and taking it easy.

In other news, today is Sept 11.  If you live under a rock, you may not know that today marks the anniversary of when two airplanes flew into the World Trade Center, one plane flew into the Pentagon, and a final plan, heading for DC, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.  Everyone has a story and remembers where they were on that tragic day.  I was living and working in Washington, DC.  Not surprising, I was running late that day and decided to drive to work instead of taking the bus.  I recall sitting in my office, which I shared with two other people, and reading about the WTC online.  I ran down the hall and announced to my other colleagues that there was an explosion in Manhattan.  I said something to the effect of, “I’m surprised they didn’t come after us since we’re in the Capital.”  And moments later, we learned about the Pentagon.  I used to drive past the Pentagon almost weekly on my trips to Target and the supermarket.

My friend Allison called me.  She was working in DC as well.  We were both shaken up but ok.  My friends in Boston (where I live now) also reached out to check up.

Most of us from my office went home.  I think we were sent home because the museum (where I worked) was located in Embassy Row, and there was concern of additional attacks or bombs in that area.  I got in my car and drove home, which was only about 10 minutes from the museum.  I drove past the Vice President’s house, which made me nervous, and got home to my apartment.  I finally got through to my parents on the phone (cell phone signals were jammed, as you could imagine) and then I put on the TV.  And, like many Americans, I watched the coverage on the news.  We were told to stay home from work the next day – Sept 12 – for safety.  So, again, I sat (this time in my PJs) and watched the news.  It was unbelievable and awful.

Over the next several months, we had several bomb scares at the museum.  Once, someone left a backpack near one of the exits and we all had to evacuate.  My office mates and I were very flippant about it on the surface – “Great, let’s make a trip to Starbucks during the bomb scare!” – but inside, it was nerve wracking.  It was a precursor of things to come, because the following year, we all had to live in fear again during the week of the Beltway Sniper.

Flying in and out of DC also became challenging.  If you flew out of National Airport, you could not get out of your seat for 30 minutes after takeoff or before landing.  So, if you took an hour flight, you couldn’t get up to pee, stretch your legs, or anything.  I recall traveling with my pregnant boss and the flight attendant addemently denying her access to the restroom before we landed on a business trip in Miami.  She wasn’t showing yet, but she protested that she was pregnant and needed to pee.  I felt really bad for her, but understood the dilemma.  I think they finally let her go.

And of course, we can’t forget my hometown.  Middletown, NJ lost about 50 residents in the WTC.  Middletown is about 45 minutes from NYC so it is the perfect suburban commuter town and unfortunately, it lost many loved ones on that September morning.

We all have our memories – frozen in time – and as the saying goes, “we will never forget.”

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