12 years later and I remember exactly where I was and exactly what I was doing. I’m sure all of us do. I was a Senior in High School and the first to find out. I was in the school office, late to class and dickign around. I remember the look of horror on our secretary’s face. She looked at me and said, “A plane hit one of the twin towers.” I ran (figuratively – I was 325lbs) back to our classroom and told everyone. NO ONE believed me. They all told me, “That’s not funny. ” “Don’t say that.” I turned the TV on in the classroom (we were an Arts HS and had weird things, like TV with basic cable) and just as I did we all watched the 2nd plane hit. Shock, horror, tears. Panic. I panicked. I had a “brother” that lived in NY. I waited all morning to hear if he was ok. Fortunately, he was. Though he witnessed the entire thing from a train. Unfortunately, not all of my friends were so lucky. Family and friends suddenly gone. The pentagon next. What’s left? The CDC. My mom works at the CDC. I can remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach of pure fear. The CDC locked down, but my mom was safe. My mom was safe. I just kept saying that over and over in my head – my mom is safe. It brought comfort.
Kevin and I talked about 9/11 the other day and he says he remembers too. He was 15 and playing baseball at the time. He remembers that weekend there was a big baseball tournament and how it didn’t really hit him until he was at the tournament. He remembers the how different the feeling at the ballpark was.
I’ve been blessed that I’ve never really witnessed horrible violence or cruelty or even really death. My father served in the Navy during Vietnam, a few tours and has seen the unthinkable. My mother worked in the ER for years and says the scent of rotting flesh and burning flesh is like none other. I can only imagine these things. I never realized how truly blessed I was until 9/11. We live in such an amazing country with so many privileges that we take for granted.
To put it in perspective, my biggest problem is my weight loss. Many people’s biggest problem is what they’re having for their next meal. It all seems pretty petty in the grand scheme of things, honestly. I complain because I have too much, where as many people will never have enough.
So, take a step back today. Hug the people you love and really think about how fortunate you are.