I am not a morning person, let alone a person who watches TV in the daytime. There are way too many soap opera’s on, and talk shows for my taste. But September 11, 2001 was different for me, and that very day, is something I am sure all of us will remember for a long time.
I was doing laundry, and all of the kids were at School. My phone rang, and I answered it. It was a telemarketer, and they needed and wanted to speak with my husband. I told them that he was impossible to reach, he kept long hours, and was rarely home in the daytime. The person, a man, asked if I was David’s wife. I said I was, and said how many years we had been married at that time. Some agencies won’t talk to the spouse, and then there are some that can and will. Not every agency is the same. Personally I was hoping this was his cue to thank me, and go onto the next caller. Instead, the telemarketer says, “You’re in luck, I can talk to you if you would like.” I was not impressed. But, I decided to be nice, and ask what this is regarding. The man told me he could hook us up with cell phones for a really low price. I chuckled, and told him that we had bad credit. The man told me, it didn’t matter, let him do his job, and he could see if he could help us out. We didn’t have cell phones at this time, and had wanted one, and had been trying. But we were having no luck, so I was thinking- this couldn’t hurt. The man took down my information, and then pressed the button to process. He said there was a problem with the Internet, and put me on hold. Bored, I now turned on the TV as I held the phone to my ear. I was flipping through channels. Everywhere I looked the news was on, and I was starting to get even more bored. After a few short minutes, the man came back onto the phone, “Today is your lucky day.” He said. “It appears there has been a terrorist attack, and our main computers were in the World Trade Center, so we are going to go ahead and process all applicants today.” I was speechless, and excited-but shocked all at the same time. Now I completely focused on the woman talking on the screen. The phone was still up to my ear. “Mrs. Williams did you hear me?” the man questioned. I responded, and he told me to expect the two phones that I had applied for, they would arrive in about three to four business days. I asked if this was a hoax, and would his company re-evaluate this, and what not-later. And then decide it was a mistake, I told him that I didn’t want to get my hopes up. He assured me it was real, there was no other choice, unless of course, I declined the contract right now. I agreed, and the call was done.
My face was staring at the TV, and I turned the volume up. I couldn’t believe this was real. I was speechless, scared, and confused. I wanted to tell my husband, but had no way to reach him. And then I remembered our best friend from his work, had family in New York. I dialed my husbands work, and asked for our friend. Her name is Marie. I asked her if she knew what was happening, I didn’t want to freak her out. She did, and her voice was very shaky. I told her she needed to go home, and she told me- that would only worry her worse. I asked if she physically had heard or knew if her children were OK. She sighed, and you could hear her gulping. She told me she hadn’t. I felt so bad for her. We lived a hop skip and a jump from my husbands work, so I asked her if she wanted me to come over, and sit with her, and wait. She told me no, she had work to do. I felt so terrible for her. But I know she wouldn’t be able to reach her children, the TV was begging people to stay off the phones, except for emergencies. This had to be one of the worst things for her. I didn’t want to be selfish, but I asked her to have David call me, when he could find a pay phone. I also asked her not to tell him anything, I didn’t want him to think I was freaking out or anything, too. She said she would get right to it, and we hung up.
Now mind you, almost my whole family is in Ohio. Which Ohio and New York are not that far apart. So I dialed my father, and the line was busy. He doesn’t have call waiting. Then I called my Aunt, and left a message on her answering machine. The news was now stating that there are other planes with terrorists in control. I am not quite sure of the time frame of these things happening, I just know it was happening, and it was before noon. I thought of the President, and hoped they would get him and his family to safety. Because I hadn’t been watching from the beginning, I was learning what was happening and what did happen out of order. I watched as one of the towers could no longer hold itself up, and collapsed. Another plane hits the Pentagon. The president had came on, in between me flipping through channels, and stated that it was a terrorist attack. I couldn’t understand why. Shortly there after, they announce they did evacuate the White House. Newscasters are worried what all else is a target, and speak of their thoughts on this subject. I think about all the things out at Kennedy Space Center. What if they hit there? I was living in Mims, which was right off of Titusville-Space City USA. All the stuff for the shuttle, all the storage of fuel and what other chemicals they use, it would be a prime target. And I as I thought, I felt that it would cause enough damage if hit, to wipe out all around the Space Center. I wanted my kids to come home. I wondered if I was worrying for no reason. I didn’t know how to think like a terrorist, I didn’t see just cause in these attacks, this just didn’t seem right. Why were they bullying the United States? We help feed the starving Children in Other Countries, we help all other Countries, and we do all that we can for everyone else, so why us?
Then the phone rang, and it was my husband. “What’s up honey?” He asked. I asked if he had heard what was going on. He did, he said everywhere he went to service the portable toilets, everyone was talking. He then asked if I was OK, and if I had talked to my family up North. I told him I left a message, and that Dad’s line was busy. David assured me everything would be OK, and that today, he would see to it, he would be home at a descent hour. He could read me through the phone line, and knew this was bothering me.
I called the School, and asked if they knew what was going on. The secretary assured me they knew, and that the students were watching this live, in every classroom, and that they weren’t doing anything else other than that. I wondered if that was the right thing. I didn’t ask if it was, I only wondered. The secretary, because I was not responding told me, the reason they were doing this, because it was history in the making, and the kids, and us of course, were a part of it. So it was important, and educational. I agreed. The woman then told me, “Not to mention, a lot of students have families else where. Not many are born and raised here.” Again, I agreed with her, and told her that my children and I are proof, we were from Ohio. The secretary said she was from Pennsylvania. You could hear the phone ringing and ringing in the back ground. I told the secretary I better let her go get that. She laughed and said, “Mrs. Williams it hasn’t stopped ringing since this started. It is being answered, trust me. It’s just that every parent is calling in, to check on the status of their kids, and School. But thank you for calling.” And she hung up.
I called my Dad, and got through. It was an answering machine, so I left a message. Then I remembered Dad had to work, and his schedule kept changing. So he could’ve been sleeping, or at work. I just wanted to be sure he was OK, and that my sister was too. I wasn’t sure, but I had heard she had been in England, maybe she was there now, and safer then the rest of us. I sure hoped so.
So much was happening, I just watched and listened. I didn’t finish the laundry, I didn’t eat lunch, I just kept watching. The front door was open, and a neighbor walked up onto the porch, “Oh, you are up!” The old lady said. “So you do know what’s going on?” She questioned. I told her I did, and she stepped inside, and told me she was worried, she had family in New York. She sat down on the couch beside me, and we both sat quietly, watching and mourning the victims. Fire fighters covered in dust were walking across the screen, and then clips of events, back and forth. Eventually, my neighbor must have let herself out, I didn’t even notice. I felt bad, I didn’t mean to give her the silent treatment. But my mind- it was just racing, so many thoughts. I could hardly keep up with everything I was thinking. I was however, wishing and hoping-it was a bad dream, that I was still asleep in bed. But unfortunately, this was really happening.
Later the kids came home, and yes- the TV was still on. My oldest announced they had been watching this very channel non-stop in his classroom. He then told me, “They suspended the classroom changes, we stayed in one room, until lunch time.” I listened as he explained. “After lunch we went to home room, and watched the news some more.” My son sat down beside me. “Is Grandpa OK?” He asked. I wasn’t sure which grandpa he meant, so I asked, and he was concerned with my father-because he was in Ohio. “Can they see the smoke in Ohio?” He asked me. I promised once someone called me, I would asked.
They were now rerunning all the events. There was an announcement that all flights were canceled. The President didn’t know for how long, but it would definitely be a few days. There were concerns of more terrorists out, and about. Suspicions of what could happen, were being spoke aloud by all newscasters. Fire men covered in debris were racing around, a few were sitting on street corners drinking water, crying. Newscasters were now asking questions to the people watching, from a distance. Some were crying. There were even people asking about others, their friends or family members, that were supposed to have been in the buildings-they wanted to know, if they were OK. No one had answers. You could see and feel the pain of everyone around. You felt out of place, sitting at home, miles away, doing nothing.
This was a day that we will never forget. A day, we will never understand, and a day, that our lives all changed. The President supported us, and led us all in prayer. This is the day, America became more united then ever before. On this day, many of us knew very little about terrorism. Even if you didn’t know not one person who was killed, you still cried, you still felt the pain, and you still mourned with those that did. Every September 11th, you will remember, not by choice, but because it was one of the biggest life changing moments in our lives. You may not have physically been there at ground zero, you may have been at work, or home watching it on TV like me-but your heart was there with the over worked fire fighters, with the worn out police officers, and with the people dying under the rubble. I am sure your thoughts raced, just as mine did. I am sure you too, felt the pain and agony. Like I said, this was a day, the United States of America became one, and more united than it had ever been. We were a Nation wounded, that would rise above it, pull together, and help one another heal.
To the families of those that lost their loved ones and friends of September 11th, I hope someday you will recover from your pain. Your loved ones played an important part in your life, and they will not ever be forgotten. You will not ever be forgotten either. I have been told time and time again, that there is a reason for everything. I don’t know what the reasoning was in the loss of your friend or family, and I know you miss them dearly. Many people say that when you die, you go to a much better place than the World we live in. It is all in a manner of whatever you believe. I assure you, your loved one, is watching over you, now. Now you have your own little guardian angel. I don’t know what else to say, other then we will never forget. We are all much stronger since this has happened, and together is how we will always prevail.
Rest in peace to those that died on September 11th, your death will not go unwarranted, and we will continue to fight for, and honor you. You will never be forgotten. To the fire fighters, police and volunteers, you were a blessing and a God send. You too, will never be forgotten. So many are grateful to all that you did. To those that donated water, money to the families who lost their friend or family member, you too-played an important role. To the President, that pulled us together, and prayed with us, and helped us all stand strong and prevail, we thank you too. This was a big, hard learning experience for everyone, and without one another, we would not have survived. Thank you, one and all, and God bless you, and keep you safe, happy and healthy.