where were you?

I was listening to the radio this morning when the song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning”, by Alan Jackson, was played.  To this day, that song still stops me in my tracks.

I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001.  We were living in Houston, Texas.  It was a beautiful morning there.  Scuba Man and I were car pooling to work, listening to the radio, as always.

We heard the news about the first plane hitting the towers and thought it was a horrible, horrible accident.  We thought something must have gone wrong with the plane itself or maybe the pilot had a heart attack.  What would cause a passenger plane to go that far off course to crash into a building?

When the second plane hit, we knew our country had been attacked.  I don’t know how we knew, but we just did.

I don’t remember the rest of the ride to work.  When I got to the office, everyone was gathered around the big television in the kitchen.  People were sitting in chairs, on tables and counters, and on the floor.  I dropped my laptop on my desk and found a place on the floor.

Everyone was talking, just trying to figure out what was happening.  Where were the planes from?  How did they come to crash into the towers?  It was all so confusing.

In the mist of the confusion, there were reports that a passenger plane had crashed into the Pentagon.  How could this be happening?

Then, it got even worse.  The first tower collapsed.  The kitchen went silent.  For me, the tears started silently flowing.

The mood stayed subdued in the kitchen.  I think we were all in shock.  The news continued, showing replay after replay of the collapse.  Then the second tower went down.  Even the newscaster was silent then.

I couldn’t believe what was happening in my country.  I had always felt so safe here.  Would that feeling ever return now?  I knew that thousands of people in New York had just been killed.  How was my country ever going to defend itself against an attack like this?

We eventually started trickling out of the kitchen, away from the television.  We worked in a high-rise building, so the decision was made to send everyone home as a precaution.  I don’t think anyone would have gotten any work done that day regardless.

I called Scuba Man, and then I called my Momma.  Somehow, she calmed me down enough for me to be able to drive home.

I was numb, frightened, devastated by the loss of life, horrified by the visions on the news.

I don’t remember much else from that day other than sitting in front of the television watching the coverage and crying.  I don’t remember the drive home.  I don’t remember whether I picked Scuba Man up or whether he found a ride home. I don’t remember my Momma calling to check on me, but I know she did.

I only remember where I was when I heard the news.  I only remember the vision of the planes hitting and the towers collapsing.  I will never forget it.

Where were you when my world stopped turning?

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11 Responses to where were you?

  1. I was at home. I’d was on sick leave with stress and I was ironing…I remember watching the news and I was crying at such a senseless loss of life….and for What?

  2. barb19 says:

    I was at home, it was early morning and I was the only one up. I was enjoying my first coffee of the day, sitting out on the back porch watching my dogs playing, thinking what a beautiful day it was.
    Then I heard the news, and although America is not my country, I was soon brought to tears with the realization of what had happened, all those lives lost, and the enormity of the situation. I could hardly believe it. I was screaming for everyone to get out of bed. We all just stood there round the TV, watching in shock and disbelief. I’ll never forget that day.
    As PiP says – it was a senseless loss of life – for what?

    • Seashell says:

      I have had the same reaction, Barb, when I’ve seen sights of terrorist attacks in other countries. I am sometimes amazed at what people, including Christians (of which I am one), will do in the name of God.

  3. Dillon says:

    That was the year before my dad died. He was on a week-long rafting trip in the Grand Canyon. During the trip, all they knew was that something was wrong because there were no planes flying over at night (apparently there are usually enough that their absence was noticeable to the guide). They didn’t find out what happened until the end of the trip.

    As for me, I was 11 and in 5th grade. We heard about it on the news, and school closed about an hour into the day. I remember coming home and watching the crashes being played over and over on the news. But because I was so young, I really didn’t grasp the situation. About 4 years later I went on a trip to DC and saw the Pentagon. They used a different color stone to fix the part damaged by the crash. I think that’s when the nature of what had happened struck me. 9/11 seems so recent to me still, so it is hard to believe that there are people who are old enough to talk and be in school who were born after that day. I wonder if, to them, it is just an event on a page of their history books?

    • Seashell says:

      I think it probably is and isn’t just a page. I guess it’s like Pearl Harbor for us baby boomers. We don’t really feel the horror of what happened there except at the time we actually see a picture or movie about it. For those of us old enough to remember 9/11, there are hundreds of reminders every week, is the simplest daily things, that being back the horror of that day.

  4. I was eight on 9/11, and I lived in D.C. at the time. The nurse came into the classroom to tell our teacher, and then all eighteen of us were taken down to the bomb shelter from WWII because no one knew if the federal government or D.C. would be harmed next. Within an hour, my mother took my sister and me home, and we watched the Towers fall and the Pentagon get smashed over and over again on the news.
    My aunt and uncle do intelligence work for the Department of Defense and actually work in the Pentagon, my godfather worked in the Twin Towers, and my father worked in downtown D.C. My mother and I couldn’t stop sobbing as she frantically called relatives and friends for news. Nothing so frightening had ever happened to me before. Thankfully, every single one of them was perfectly safe, though they were entirely rattled.
    But the image that has really stuck with me is that of standing barefoot on our stone steps, looking up at the sky, and watching helicopters fly past every fifteen minutes. It was in that moment that I knew that this wasn’t just something on TV that made everyone cry, that “mean men” had attacked our country, that real people were dead and gone forever, that my life would never be the same. I could see the change.

    • Seashell says:

      How frightened you all must have felt with so many family members involved. Thank God they all were safe. My brother-in-law was also working at the Pentagon during that time frame, but on that day, at that time, he was in a meeting elsewhere. It took my sister quite a while to find out he was safe also.

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  6. This brought up a lot of memories! I had moved to Canada not quite a month before. I couldn’t work so I was in our apartment doing whatever online when the spouse called from work, told me to put CNN on, and hung up. What a horrible day…my kids were still living in Michigan and I was so afraid something would happen to them. It’s amazing how we something can’t remember something from last week or even a few days ago but a day like this is so incredibly clear…

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