What Were You Doing?

I’m sure each one of us can remember in vivid detail what we were doing seven years ago today. My friend Gina, better known as No Surrender, wrote about what she was doing that morning here.

I just happened to be watching Good Morning America when the first plane hit. Remember that horrible feeling as we watched the footage of something that had just happened. What a tragic accident. Except “accident” just didn’t feel right.

Everything changed when we watched the live feed of the second plane hitting the building. The gut clenching horror of knowing it was deliberate. In that same instant was the panic at the thought my husband was on a plane at that very moment. Where were these planes from, where were they going, were there other terrorists on other planes in other parts of the country? My mind raced and prayed he would call me NOW. My prayers were answered very shortly after when he called to say he had landed safely in Atlanta.

And still the horror continued. I watched everything that day against my wishes. My desire was to turn off the TV and pretend it hadn’t happened — wasn’t happening. But for thousands of people – in New York, around the country, around the world – that option wasn’t available to them. They were living the horror. How could I leave them to face the tragedy alone? I realize not one of them would know I was in it with them – safe on my comfortable couch in the middle of America, knowing exactly where my family was. But I knew and I had to stay the course for them.

So I sat there, feeling numb, tears streaming down my face. Me and tens, or maybe hundreds of thousands of other people. And I prayed. It’s probably more accurate to say I cried out. “Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.” I don’t know if I was begging, pleading, asking. “Oh God,” was all I could think of to say. But those words weren’t spoken lightly. They were directed to the Almighty. There are just times when it’s the only thing a person can say to Him.

Then all flights were grounded. Todd’s conference was cancelled and he was stuck in Atlanta. It took everything in me to keep from checking Taylor and Katie out of school, loading up on M&Ms and other designated road trip foods, and heading to Georgia to pick him up. You know how it is when tragedy strikes and all you want is your family right there with you. But he talked me out of it and he managed to get home a couple days later on a Greyhound bus. (After that he wished I had driven to get him!)

You can’t turn on the TV today without seeing memorials for the people lost to us in 9/11. We’re still mourning the tragedy and the reckless loss of life — the loss of life as we all knew it. And it still hurts – even for those of us in the periphery. But we remember and may we never forget.


  1. Lynilu on September 11, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I’ve been trying to write a post about that morning, and I’m really having trouble getting it done. for some reason the memory is tougher this year.

  2. Tanya on September 11, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I thought about posting about it as well, but I don’t know if I actually will. Listening to the radio morning show as I was getting ready for work made me cry, which is not a good thing to do when you’re applying your eyeliner. Its a sad day, but I hope that good (like people turning to God) has happened from it.

  3. beans on September 11, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    I have to say that I was spared by much of it at first, as I had had surgery the day before and was pretty drugged up. My dad came home from the store and I told him in a very doped up way that I saw something bizarre on TV. Two planes going into a building. He quickly found out I wasn’t making the stuff up. By brother and sister in law lived in Manhattan at the time, and she worked in the building across from the place where the footage came in from the second plane . . .we didn’t hear from he for quite some time and it was very tense.Very sad . . .just so very sad still

  4. Gretchen on September 11, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    My husband called me from his car and told me to turn on the news; that Howard Stern was either really telling a horrid joke, or that our country was under attack. Horror. Disbelief. “Oh God”, indeed. It’s my wish that we never forget the horrific events of that day, but more than that, that we remember the incredible humanity of our fellow Americans in pulling this country back together in the days following 9/11. It seems we’re hard and numb again, and have forgotten that we need each other.

  5. The Daily "B" on September 11, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    That was a horrific life changing day. Even now I get angry at the thought of what was lost.Today is a sad day in our American history, but also a day that we remember how we came together, strangers who shared something in common.

  6. Anonymous on September 11, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I was watching GMA that morning too, Jen. Don Dahler talking about what had happened with the first building, and then seeing the plane hit the second one . . . well, it still gives me chills. As for coverage of the memorials and stuff, unfortunately we’re not getting that here. In fact, I was in the school’s front office when the principal came in and told the receptionist, “We need to get the flag to half mast!” The receptionist looked at her blankly for a minute, obviously wondering when it had become tradition to lower the flag for an approaching hurricane, when her memory finally clicked. I had forgotten about as well. Once we get rid of Ike, Texas (at least the Gulf coast) will be able to remember September 11th more appropriately.Hugs,Jennifer

  7. Rosie on September 11, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Guess we are like minded. My post today has the same subject line. I would have been out of my mind if one of my loved ones was traveling that day. I’m so glad you got a call right away. I can’t imagine the agony of not knowing.Do you think about all the children that were born after they lost one of their parents that morning? They are in first grade this year. Isn’t that wild to think about? They don’t know or understand the world of that day before they were born…only that they don’t have a Mommy or Daddy.

  8. Shauna on September 12, 2008 at 1:31 am

    I remember distinctly the feeling of shock, horror and disbelief as I heard/watched the news. Even years later, that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach has not gone away when I think of that day. Such a tragedy. The loss of life and loved ones will forever be remembered. And with it the selfless sacrifice of the many brave men and women who worked to save and rescue the hurt and the lost.

  9. God's Guitar Girl on September 12, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    I was teaching in Kansas at the time, and T. had just gone off for a month’s training in California. 9/11 was his birthday, too. Anyhoo, I was at my computer listening to a morning radio show out of Indianapolis when they interrupted with the news. I immediately found the news on the internet, which went down about 2 seconds later.Our principal didn’t want us to mention anything to our students, which was excruciating. I remember letting them play on the playground for a long time at the end of the day b/c I was so blitzed by the news. I also remember thinking how weird it was to not see or hear a plane in the sky.It took me a mere 4 hours to get through the gate and past security to get back onto post to my house. I remember being so afraid that T. would have to deploy straight to Afghanistan from California. Thankfully he didn’t, but it was sad and scary to come home to an empty house and be missing him and my family so much.

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