Monday, September 11, 2006

5 Years Ago (A Memory)

This is so hard to type without tearing up-the memories of that day are as fresh in my mind as if it were yesterday, and not 5 years ago.

On that beautiful morning, I was awoken by the sound of the phone ringing. Stumbling into the living room of our 1 bedroom apartment, I picked up the phone to hear my mother sobbing hysterically on the other end. Thinking something had happened to one of my grandparents, I asked what was wrong. I remember her choking out that planes had hit the World Trade Centers.....and the Pentagon. Terrorists were attacking America.

My heart dropped to my stomach. My husband's father and brother both worked in the Pentagon.

A low wail and the sounds of me screaming "NO! NO! Dear God NO!!" summoned Jake to my side. Knowing that there was no way I relate this life-altering information to my husband, I numbly handed the phone to him so that my mother could be the one to tell him that his father and brother could very well be injured or dead. I immediately clicked on the t.v., and the images of the Towers, with smoke pouring out of them will haunt me forever. (I still cannot view those images without bursting into tears.)

The full enormity of the situation was just starting to sink in, and we frantically tried to call his family, but all the lines were tied up. We sat and watched and waited to hear the news, all the while desperately watching for any view of the Pentagon where we could see where the planes had hit, because Jake knew where his father's office was located. I was pretty convinced that the side that was hit was not where his dad's office was, but that still was not reassuring. Especially since his brother (and friends he'd made while working there) could be anywhere on a tech call.

For over five hours we waited, still trying to get through on the line when, finally, after dialing for the millionth time, the phone rang and Jake's stepmother answered to give us the news we'd been waiting to hear: they were both ok. To say that we were elated does not even begin to describe what we felt that day.

Despite the horror of watching the Towers fall, and knowing how many people would lose their lives that day, we were overjoyed knowing that the loss would not be ours to bear. Our thoughts turned to our friends in DC and NY, thankfully, as we later found out, all of whom were ok as well. I know we are extraordinarily lucky-knowing as many people in those locations, and none of whom were lost. My heart still aches for those who were not as fortunate as we were.

Just a few months ago, Jake and I sat down and finally watched the made for t.v. movie/documentary about United 93. I had DVR'ed it on 9/11 last year, but could not bring myself to watch it at the time. We sat and watched, both of sobbing throughout most of the picture. We are both still greatly affected by the images and sounds of that fateful day. I wish I could find a way to have peace in my heart about it, but it's too hard right now, even five years later. This is the second act of terrorism I had lived through. As you may know, I live in Oklahoma City, and was supposed to be *in* the Murrah Building at 9 am when that bomb went off. 11 years later, I am still emotionally scarred. My office window looks out over the Memorial site. And while I'm more peaceful now than I was before about that time, it still bothers me when April 19th rolls around. Now, I have another date to add to my collective dread-September 11.

My heart and mind and loving thoughts are with all Americans today, especially those who suffered a loss in New York, Pennsylvania, and DC. You are forever in my heart....


Kellie said...

Oh my, Natalee. I did not know you had family in the Pentagon. As horrible as that day was for me, it had to be so much worse for those, like you, who did not know what what going on with loved ones.


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