Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Were You?

On September 11, 2001 I was a sophomore in college. I lived in an on campus apartment, was super involved in campus activities, and had wonderful friends. I worked as a nanny and also was a gymnastics instructor, mostly for camps. I had a pretty normal life of a college student.

Except for that morning, everything changed. I'd woken up, taken a shower and was having my cheerios with Katie Couric. I always watched The Today Show in the mornings. I'd went to brush my teeth but in the small apartment could still hear everything. I heard the first report of breaking news and remember thinking how horrible it was that a plane had crashed and assumed it was a malfunction like most other crashes. I went to the living room to hear what was going on and saw the second plane hit. I remember being in shock and not sure it could be real. I was stuck in front of the TV and hurried to get ready and make it to class. I remember talking with a couple of friends about it on the way and they didn't know what was going on.

A few people in my early morning Advertising class were aware, but the professor wasn't. At that point I only vaguely heard that it was a terrorist attack and still didn't fully understand the damage and the severity of the situation.

After class my friends and I went to the UC and there were masses of students glued to the few televisions down the hallways. We just stood there shell shocked. I watched the coverage and heard the reports, but I still didn't quite comprehend it all. I don't remember much about the rest of the day. I don't think my other class was cancelled, and I think I went to work for a couple of hours that afternoon.

I continued to tune into the news and cried once it started sinking in. I wasn't directly affected by losing someone, but I remember how sad and painful the situation was. I also remember my (somewhat) morbid sense of humor. I tend to make a joke about something no matter how bad the situation. I was talking with friends and remember saying that once the draft was reinstated that my large university would become an all girls school and I'd never get my MRS. Yes, I know it's a horrible joke but I tend to always make lite of a situation. (You think that's bad? You should have been around me during and after the death of my dad. Talk about a morbid and dysfunctional sense of humor!?) Nonetheless, that's how I deal with situations.

I remember how hard I prayed all day. I prayed for the people who were in the planes, in the World Trade Center, and in the Pentagon. I prayed for their families. I prayed for those in the community and those who had witnessed these incidents. I prayed for the rescue workers, the policemen, the firefighters, the paramedics, the volunteers. I also prayed for President Bush. I cannot imagine being in his position during such a time.

I remember feeling scared and unstable for awhile after. It was frightening to have this large scale terrorist attack so close to home. I've never known what it was like to have another countries military presence near me. Although I lived through the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) and was old enough to remember and comprehend, it was so far away. I wrote letters to soldiers and remember one in particular who was a friend of my mother's. It really didn't scare me much. I was constantly reassured that the war was far away and wouldn't come to my house.

And then this happened.

Although I live in a mid-sized city, I still felt like we'd be last on a terrorist list. Of course, if they had planned large scale missions, would any city be left untouched? The days, weeks, and months following September 11 were heart wrenching and frightening. Although it was five years ago, there are constant reminders. The events following September 11th and events that America, as well as the Middle East, are still facing make it hard to forget. Truthfully, I'm still a little afraid when I think about it.

I still pray for all of the families who were affected by this tragic event, and mostly for our President. Regardless of political affiliation and opinions of President Bush, he's still the President and deserves the utmost respect for his job.

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