This day brings back memories etched in my mind indefinitely of the events that unfolded which still seems like yesterday.
It was the first day of a new job I had just attained after weeks of interviews and tests and also the first day that I was truly living alone after a huge break up with an old boyfriend of mine at the time. He had taken my TV, my radio and my house phone which I gladly let him have just to get him out the door. All I had left for communication to the outside world was my cellphone.
I was supposed to be at work at 11am.. So I'm getting ready; shower, picking first day of work clothes, imagining what my boss will be like and hoping he/she isn't a prick.. I'm one of those people that don't drive with the radio on.. And I get a call from my mom.. a really weird call. It's hard to explain, one of those calls you jokingly answer the phone with a witty remark and then hear the other person's voice is shaken so you hurry to cover up the joke and be serious. But it was the first time in my life I felt my sense of security seriously shattered.
My mom said an airplane hit a building in New York. My first reaction was "are you serious? no way.. that's just.. no way." After her briefing me with more details as it unfolded on her break room TV at work I was I guess you could say in shock. Overwhelmingly shocked. I flipped the dial on my car radio and scan the AM waves for a news station and just listened. I turn around my car and head to my parent's house where there was a TV. I guess mostly so I could confirm that everyone was just blowing things out of proportion. Because who in their right mind would seriously believe the United States of America would be attacked by airplanes in the busiest city in the states. Only in the movies does this happen... Not possible... Arrogant thinking on my part I guess.. :/
I get to my mom's house and watching the events unfold live on national TV.. Fighting back tears at how they kept replaying the crashes and explosions that looked something like a worst-case-scenario this could happen movie, I made the decision to start heading to work. It was hard to decide because teetering on one side of my mind was "I need to mourn" and the other side "I need to show no fear or weakness." Mind you the job I had applied for and got was with a call center that did technical support for cable Internet services. So I am obviously late to work, my boss really didn't seem to mind but urged me to jump on the phones because the lines were crazy. Usually you need training before you get on the phones in a call center so I'm obviously scared thinking good lord now I have to keep my emotions in check to be professional AND help these people out with no training.. Most of our calls that day and many days following were from within a 50 mile radius of ground zero where the Internet had been manually shut down for apparently security reasons.
I had calls from people the first day basically telling me the Internet was down and then ending up just wanting to talk to someone about what had happened. I don't think they cared about the Internet being down so much as they just needed someone at that moment. I think I hit my limit emotionally about halfway through my shift because I remember feeling a great sense of loss, something special ended that day.. I ended up going home because the tears wouldn't stop coming on my break and crying on the phones in my opinion wasn't going to make it any more pleasurable for anyone.
I remember gathering as many white candles in my apartment I could find and lining them up on all my window sills that evening as did many of my neighbors. Having my close friends over that night to keep each other at bay emotionally. Kids that normally ran up and down the halls outside my apartment were indoors, the busy and very noisy airport about 10 miles west of where I lived was also very very eerily silent. The city I lived in was literally at a standstill.
Being in Texas we aren't close to New York location wise. I didn't know anyone who died on 9/11 directly. But that day will always be etched in my memories as vivid as if it were yesterday. Talking to strangers directly affected and obviously torn between grief and anger that day and many many days following affected me in a way impossible to describe. Leaving a lasting impression that still to this day on 9/11 when I relive these memories sends a chill up my spine. I can't begin to imagine what that day was like for those who did know someone who passed that day. But this was how my day unfolded and I thought I would share it for my memorial of 9/11 and those who had fallen that day needlessly.
I will never forget.