Sunday, September 11, 2011

It started like any other Tuesday morning. I got to work at around 6 that morning and began working in some layouts at work. I remember around 7:50 a guy I worked with coming in our room and telling us something hit one of the towers in New York City. I finished up what I was working on and walked across the street to our kitchen at work to find my Grandaddy glued to the TV screen. We watched in horror as a plane intentionally crashed into the second tower. The news anchors were in as much shock as we were. You could hear the fear in their voices. Speculations of terrorists were already forming. My Grandaddy looked at me with the same worry in his eyes that I had. My mom had boarded a plane that morning and was headed north. It was a waiting game. The longest hours of my life. As we continued to watch, the towers began to fall. Reports were coming in that all planes were being grounded. Finally, after waiting in line to use a pay phone, mom was able to get through to us and let us know she was at a different airport. The relief I felt was so great, but then it was quickly replaced by the burden if those who would never get that phone call, those who would never hear their mom say, "I'm ok, and I love you." We watched in horror as people jumped from a tower of fire. The news anchor first reporting them as pieces of debris, and then fighting back the tears as she realized those were people, too hot to stand the fire any longer. I had never seen such an event in all my life.

That afternoon, UAB did not cancel classes. I remember taking a history test and stopping at 4 different gas stations that were sold out of gas. People thought it was the end and were filling up gas cans and every vehicle they owned. I remember finally finding gas at the Raceway on 280 and waiting in line there for what seemed like an hour. I remember going home that night and crying as I watched President Bush address our nation.

It's a day I'll never forget. I'll always remember that fear I held in my heart and the grief for those who got the phone call from loved ones saying they wouldn't be coming home. The heaviness in my heart for those heroes on Flight 93 who saved the lives of others by taking back their flight and crashing it into a field. I cannot even begin to imagine the fear the must have felt as their plane began its descent.

In memory of all those who lost their lives on that tragic day, we will never forget. For the babies who never got to share a Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning with their daddies, the pregnant mom who didn't have her husband to hold her hand as she welcomed her baby into this world, the parents who never talked to their daughter again, the best friend who thinks about her best friend she never got to say goodbye to, the little boy who waved to his daddy as he headed to his job as a firefighter and never returned home: you are prayed for so often. We cannot imagine the hurt you still harbor in your hearts. September 11, 2001: a day we will never forget.