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?