I know everyone will be blogging and talking about this, so I thought I would also look back to see where I was on that horrible day...
Seven years ago, has it been that long? I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was at work, my second week at a new job. We were in a meeting, using a computer hooked to a projector. One of my team members came in late, and said he'd heard on the car radio that a plane had crashed in New York City and that they were talking about it all over the news.
Our meeting quickly ended, and we turned the projector screen to CNN.com. By then the second plane had hit, and everyone was in disbelief. My husband, a solider in the US Army, was supposed to be travelling that day. (I can't remember where.) He was calling and calling, frantically trying to get a hold of me to let me know he was OK and his travel plans were canceled. Then work released us, to go home and be with families. To try and digest what was happening and why. Why would someone do this? Was it planned?
I remember picking up my kids from school and daycare - many, many people left work as soon as they were allowed, so they could go get their kids and hold them close. Alissa was in the 2nd grade. There was no way to explain to her what was happening, but I knew I had to find something to say to her. Unfortunately, once your child is in school it becomes harder and harder to shelter them from the outside world. I don't remember what I told her, except that something bad had happened - two planes had crashed and people were hurt, and the schools said it was OK for us to come get our kids and be with them early today. (I didn't know about the plane at the Pentagon or in PA at that time.)
We were staying with my parents and my grandma, because we'd just moved back to the US from Europe about 6 weeks before, and hadn't closed on our own house yet. I went home to their house, and my grandma was outside. We turned on the TV to get more information, and the TV stayed on for about 2 weeks. I couldn't stop watching it. I don't know why, to this day, the events of September 11 mesmerize and capture me. I watched every bit of news about that day that I could for the entire month after it happened. I didn't know anyone personally affected by this tragedy, but at the same time we were all personally affected. It changed the US in many ways.
What those evil people behind the tragedy didn't realize was that, just like the tragic events of Pearl Harbor 60 years before, this unspeakable event brought our country together. Even 7 years later, we are still a unified, patriotic nation, rallying behind the troops and showing our love for our country. It changed some of the ways we do things (more airport security, more travel restrictions...), but it also made us all realize what a great country we live in.
One thing I never understood about that fateful day, though - why did the folks who lost their lives at the Pentagon get so much less attention than those who died in New York or PA? The Pentagon quietly buried their dead, and rebuilt their structure, even unveiling a new memorial to those we lost (the memorial is being dedicated today). Why were those heroes given less attention than the civilians in the World Trade Center towers? Why don't we hear about their heroism (unless you live in the military community and read the military newspapers/magazines). Their lives were no less precious, and their sacrifice was no less honorable and no less tragic.
Visit the Pentagon Memorial website at http://memorial.pentagon.mil.
Today, take a moment to remember those who lost their lives on that terrible day seven years ago. All of them.