Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Hard to believe it's been eight years already.

What a horrific day. I remember every moment of it after I got this call: "Rhi, please use the intercom to tell everyone to tune into CNN."

I did, and we did ... just in time to watch the second plane fly into a building. Like many of you, we weren't sure what we'd just seen. It looked like a movie. We all stood there in our business suits, jaws agape, watching the plane fly into the building over and over again as the news channels put the footage on repeat, forgetting the day's appointments and ignoring the phone at our little insurance brokerage while we tried to figure out what in the hell was going on.

We were being attacked? In America? That didn't make any sense. No one attacks AMERICA.

I was living in Atlanta at the time, working near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The day was full of rumors and fear and confusion, and we were hundreds of miles from the three crime scenes.

Atlanta was next! The terrorists were coming after the CDC! There was another plane in Chicago! One in Pennsylvania. Washington. We're under attack! Code red! Code red!

It feels like nothing's really been the same since. Does it? Our sense of self, as a country, changed forever.

My entire family was on a cruise in Alaska. I called every damn cruise line until I found them. At first I was mad because they hadn't told me which cruise line they'd be on or which airline would take them there and bring them home, not that they'd ever done that in the past.

Then, we, my grandmother and I, cried together because we knew our country was aching, that so many of our fellow Americans were in physical, emotional and spiritual pain at that very moment and there was nothing we could do to ease any of it.

We felt the pulse of the war drum beating. We knew the day's pain wouldn't end with the setting sun. It still hasn't ended.

Our story is the mild, pre-school version of events. It still makes me shutter to think of the thousands of hearts that stopped beating that day, of all of the hearts that broke when they learned their loved one had perished. I cringe to think of our misguided responses, of all of the other lives lost -- and still being lost -- in battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's one of those unforgettable days we all wish never happened. But, remembering and sharing leads to healing.

So, where were you? What were you doing?

If you'd like to participate in local events aimed at remembering that tragic day, check out this Charlotte.com article.

And, to my friend Lora, in Matthews, remember what I said: You get to pick any other day you want for your birthday, dear.

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