Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you 10 years ago today?

A friend of mine posed this question on Facebook this morning.  Now that the 10th anniversary of 9/11 has arrived, I imagine everyone in the country is reflecting on where they were on that fateful day.

I was at work at Marc Advertising, at my desk.  One of my coworkers came to my desk and told me that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center.  As we rushed to the lobby, I remember wondering why the plane had crashed.  I imagined that a pilot of a private plane must have had a heart attack while in the air, or something similar had occurred.  I wasn't even remotely expecting the reality of what was actually occurring.  When we reached the lobby, the TV had already been tuned to the live feed from ground zero and there were already quite a few coworkers gathered around it. 

We stood and watched live footage, much of which was never seen again, of the scene at the towers.  I remember vivid images of the events and feeling the pure terror of the victims as I stood and watched helplessly.  When flight 93 went down in a field not far north from Pittsburgh, there were concerns that Pittsburgh, and the US Steel building in particular, might be a target so buildings were evacuated and we all gathered our things and headed for home.

Jared was working downtown and we'd driven in together, so I waited in front of Station Square, watching the Smithfield Bridge for a sight of him walking toward me.  I honestly don't think I have ever been happier to see him than I was then.  He may have wondered why he was greeted with such an enthusiastic hug, but he never asked.  We quickly made it to our car and headed toward home.  My boys (ages 2 3/4 and 5 months)
were in daycare near where my mother-in-law worked at the time and I remember the entire drive home all I could think about was hugging them.  Once we arrived at home, I don't think I've ever felt more relieved.  Given the way the events were unfolding, I never truly worried about our safety, but I just wanted to have my family all together.  Once at home, we retrieved our children from my mother-in-law and spent the rest of the day watching coverage, reacting with great trepidation each time a plane flew over, and hugging our boys more than usual. 

Now, 10 years later, as I type this I am reclining on a couch at my parents' house in Yakima, WA.  I have just two short days left on this visit and intend to savor every moment.  As I reflect on the events as they unfolded 10 years ago this day, I am extremely grateful to the first responders who rushed in selflessly to try to save as many lives as they could but ended up sacrificing their own lives.  For all of them, and the people who worked in the towers, I wonder what they said to their loved ones as they left for work on that morning and if they enjoyed the beauty of the clear blue skies and warm temperatures that morning as they went through their morning routine.  I try to make the most of each day, but too often find that I too easily fall into a complacent routine.  I imagine many of us do. 

So, as a character in one the movie, Volunteers, asks, "What have you learned Dorothy?"  I answer, "Live each day the best you can.  Don't miss an opportunity to hug your loved ones or tell them how you feel.  Hold them tight and try to never take anything for granted."  I often say that life is too short not to be enjoyed and firmly believe it.  Make the most of each moment you have, as you never know when it may be your last.

Where were you 10 years ago today?


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