It was a beautiful morning, and I resented the fact that I had to be in at work early. I already had an evening meeting scheduled, and now I had to be in early to attend some focus group or committee thing that was made up of representatives from various community agencies. My boss had asked me to represent our office, which meant that I had to be at these early meetings once a week for a couple of months. And they were BORING. I do believe I slept through this one with my eyes open.
As I left the meeting and walked the three blocks back to my office, I looked up at the beautiful blue skies and tried to figure out if I would have time to take a long lunch and get outside to enjoy the weather.
When I walked into the office, people were all scurrying around and fumbling through cabinets...looking for a radio, I later learned. They wanted updates. On what? I did not believe the story they told me until I turned on my computer and confirmed the news reports, which were still confused and vague at that early hour of the day. Three planes had crashed...or was it four? The White House was hit. WHAT? No, it was the Pentagon. Could this really be happening?
I know I stood out in the sweltering noon heat at a prayer vigil that day, although no one really knew what was going on yet. I remember looking at the skies in our downtown area and realizing that for the entire hour, there were no planes anywhere. That was eerily unusual.
At some point that day, I went home for a couple of hours to see what the news was reporting. No one was getting any work done anyway. I sat and watched as the towers tumbled...again and again and again. (Was that really necessary? It was burned in my brain forever after seeing it the first time.) Stories of people who escaped...and those who didn't. The unimaginable bravery of those who ran into collapsing buildings to try to save others, and that of the United Flight 93 passengers who overtook the terrorists to save more lives...though not their own. Images of panicked faces fleeing the scene, and images of rescue crews searching the wreckage.
There have been a handful of movies made about the tragedy that occurred on that day. I haven't seen any of them, and I don't intend to. I don't need more images of the horrors that took place. I saw enough images in the days and weeks following that day, eight years ago. I know what happened. I remember those images vividly...
...and I will not forget.