September 11, 2010

Where Were You? – Remembering 9/11

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photo credit: PBoGS

Many people say America was forever changed on 9/11/2001. It’s hard to argue with that. But what does it mean? We were changed for the better or for worse? Some say for the better, some say for the worse. I think it’s both.

For my generation, this is our ‘Where were you?’ moment. Although, for me this is but one of those moments that forever impacts your life. For my generation we’ve had quite a few of these moments. Events that have shaped us, changed us, impacted us. Events that have caused us to take action, change career paths or even make life-changing choices.

Unlike generations before us, mine was the first not to see war. Instead, we saw a crazy man attempt to assassinate President Regan, astronauts and one civilian who believe in the mission of space exploration perish because of equipment failure, a religious zealot kill innocent children, a militant American turn on his own country in the heartland, and so many other horrific acts. But September 11th is a defining moment for most of us. Truly our ‘Where were you?‘ moment.

I was at home and CycleGuy was in New York. My story isn’t interesting. His is.

I thought he was in New York. At the time he worked in mid-town Manhattan in a nondescript high rise across the street from the Empire State Building. I called his office and was told he wasn’t in. That he was on a plane. Not sure where. San Francisco, maybe? Possibly Chicago.

He would often take day trips and not tell me because it didn’t really matter. He’d call me in the morning from wherever he was. And if he was just flying somewhere for the day it wasn’t a big deal.

But this time it was. Around 6am I got a call from a friend of mine telling me to turn on the TV that there had been a bomb in New York and had I heard from CycleGuy. I told her he’s on a plane to somewhere. She screamed!

I called his cell phone and left a message. And I continued to watch the news. Waiting. And Waiting. I was starting to PANIC! Could he have been on the plane to San Francisco? He had clients there and had been talking about meeting them.

What seemed like an eternity but was probably only 20 minutes passed until my phone rang. It was him! I knew he was OK. He had just landed in Chicago. He wanted to know if I was OK. He had over 40 messages, most of them telling him to call immediately. No one saying anything about the plane or the bombings.  His head exploded with scenarios of what could have happened to me.  All the while we’re all worried he’s in New York, or on the plane to San Francisco.

He’s still on the plane and I tell him what I know. Luckily they had landed just as airspace was being shut down. Except now he’s in Chicago. For a day trip. With no rental car. And no way to get home.

In the O’Hare terminal he met up with a former colleague who offered to drive him to Ohio, where we used to live, to try and get something there. After about an hour, I found a rental car in South Bend. Yes, the closest place I could find a rental car was over 100 miles away.

His colleague agreed to drive to South Bend and drop him off. So on September 11th, CycleGuy headed back to Arizona with a laptop and a cell phone. It was a day trip. He had nothing. He stopped at a Wal-Mart in Missouri to pick up some essentials before finding a hotel that night. Surreal is how he often describes the drive. Very few cars on the road. No airplanes overhead. No trains. No commercial trucks.

Me. I was at home. Safe, secure. Wondering why. Watching it all unfold. Listening to the speculation. Hoping for the best. Not just for the people, but for my country as well.

Things were different. America was changed. Some good. Some not so good. But changed nonetheless.

And like the tragedies I’ve seen before, that too have shaped my generation, Never Forget!

Where were you September 11th, 2001?

Sara

{ 2 comments }

Cycleguy September 11, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Its odd to be away from you on this day, but I have you in my heart! I think this day did redefine you and I and made us more determined and more grateful for what we have. Love you..

Sara September 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm

It is odd, but this time I know that your being in SF is a good thing!

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