It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since that dark day. No matter where in the world you are, I’m sure that you remember it like it was yesterday.
I was managing an animal hospital at the time. I was on hold with a distributor in upstate New York, waiting to talk to one of my favorite reps so I could place our weekly supply order. A radio station was playing while I was on hold. The moderators were talking about a plane flying into the World Trade Center. How could this be? When Valerie came on the line, I asked her whether she knew what that was all about, and that’s when I began to find out what was happening.
Remember, this was in the days before smartphones, before social media. We didn’t have a TV at the clinic, and only one computer with a dial-up internet connection. We turned the radio on, right around the time when the second plane crashed into the South Tower. Then a client came rushing in, shouting that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon.
Our phones kept ringing off the hook – not with animal emergencies, but with family members calling staff members. My dad called me from Germany. He’d been trying to get through for hours. He had no concept of how far from the Pentagon the clinic was (more than 40 miles,) all he knew was that his daughter might be in harm’s way. He was so worried, he told me not to go home, that it was dangerous to be outside.
When I finally got home that day, I hugged Amber like I had never hugged her before. Then I turned the TV on. After only listening to news reports during the day, and seeing a few isolated images online, the full horror of what had happened started to sink in. Like everyone else, I called close friends to connect, to check in, to make sure they were safe.
Today, I’m praying for the families of the victims and of the heroes that lost their lives trying to save so many others. I’m crying for the innocence we all lost that day. And I’m remembering the most important lesson that 9/11 taught all of us: life is a fragile and precious gift that should never be taken for granted.
Please share your 9/11 memories or remembrances in a comment.