I don't think I ever felt as alone as I did on the morning of September 11th, 2001. It was the first September in more than two decades that I wasn't familiarizing myself with the inside of a classroom. My husband had left for an extended business trip that morning and all the friends I had were back to work. It was just me and my 15 month old.
And then. And then.
My breathe shortens as I recall that morning. The Today Show on in the background. Then a commercial. And then - the world changed. Coming back from a commercial break, the first reports of an explosion. A woman calling in on the phone to give information. I don't remember what she even said, but I can remember the emotion in her voice. And I remember Matt Lauer's, Katie Couric's and Tom Brokaw's lack of emotion. Perhaps they were remaining professional, but I have never forgiven any of them for it. Particularly after the second plane hit, followed soon after by a plane flying into the side of the Pentagon and it became clear that this wasn't an accident.
I can't begin to imagine what it was like that day for those inside the towers, in the Pentagon, on United Airlines Flight 93. I can't do anything but offer up prayers for their souls, for the healing of both mind and body of those that survived that day. In addition, I can promise to never forget, as much as I would like to forget. I can promise to share my memories of that day, the fear, the sadness, and shamefully, the joy of knowing that my husband and brother in law were safe (although stranded in other airports). I will never forget how alone I felt, when all the nations lines were busy with Americans trying to track down loved ones and achieve the same sense of relief I had, and I couldn't get through to my mom. I will never forget the look in her eyes when she told me she couldn't have answered the phone anyway as she was on the phone with her bosses daughter in law who was inside one of the towers at the time.
I can also promise to share my memories of the days after. Of lines outside blood banks; people waiting to donate. Of baked goods being delivered to local police and firemen, to ensure they knew they were appreciated. Of people being a little bit kinder to one another.
If you are so inclined, please take a moment today to send up a prayer - for those that died that day, for those that were injured, either physically, emotionally or both that day, and for those that came to the rescue. If prayer isn't your thing, many communities are sponsoring blood drives or collecting food, in an effort to harness the spirit that emerged so strongly in the days and weeks right after the attacks.
And be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug and kiss today.