Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Remember

I remember September 11, 2001. I had gone to school early that morning to teach my 3rd grade class in Norcross, GA. My husband had gone to work at 3rd Army in Ft. McPherson, GA. My parents were in town visiting and were going to the airport that morning to pick up my sister and her husband who were flying in from Washington D.C.

I remember a fellow teacher coming into my room and telling me that two planes had hit the World Trade Centers in New York City. I remember the shock and horror I felt, knowing this was no accident and wondering who could be that evil. I couldn’t begin to imagine the number of lives that were lost.

I remember hearing about the plane that had crashed into the Pentagon and knowing that my sister and her husband were flying out from D.C. that very morning. I remember the guilty relief I felt when I saw that their flight had landed in Atlanta but knowing that many other families were learning that their loved ones had not been so fortunate. I remember my sister later telling me that they had seen the Pentagon as they flew out of the city, just 30 minutes before it was attacked.

I remember trying very hard not to let my students know that something so horrible had occurred that day. During my lunch break I called my husband, and that was when I first cried because his job primarily dealt with the Middle East. I remember being afraid that he would have to go to war.

I remember the days, weeks and months that followed. My students came with so many questions. “Why had this happened?” “Who did this?” “Why didn’t they like us?” Too many of them had seen the images on T.V., burning buildings, people jumping, and they needed assurance that they were safe. I remember hearing so many stories on the news of acts of heroism and an increased sense of patriotism.

I remember holding my newborn daughter in my arms and watching as we went to war. I remember the mixed emotions that I had and how I selfishly prayed that my husband wouldn’t have to go.

I remember my husband telling me that with his new job assignment would be a deployment. I remember watching him hold our 5 month old son and praying that he would come home alive. I remember the sense of pride mixed with fear and an unexplainable God-given peace as I watched him walk away, knowing it would be a long time before I saw him again.

I remember the year without my husband. Relying on God’s strength for each day, and anticipating my husband’s phone calls, letters, and e-mails, and praying for his and the other soldiers’ safety. I remember feeling God’s hand through the hugs and support of friends and family, offers of help, the simple “Thank you’s.”

I remember him finally coming home, our children running towards him and holding on tightly to their daddy. I remember his strong arms holding me; it was as if no time had passed by at all.

I remember those who lost their lives on September 11th. I remember those in the military who endure time away from their family and friends and who have given their lives to defend our freedom. I remember those who anticipate the phone calls and letters from their loved ones who are far away, and I remember those who will never see their loved one again. I remember and pray for them all.

I remember. I will not forget.


Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I also remembered this morning - amazed that 7 years have really passed since that day. We had returned exactly one week before from an overseas trip. One that started and ended in Boston's Logan airport. I was home alone - still jet lagged and watching the morning new shows. My thought has always been if the "bad guys" had chosen a date 3 weeks previous it could very well have been our flight out of Logan headed to LAX. Living an hour from Boston and 3 hours from NYC has given me a very unique perspective.

Thank you for the sacrifices you and your family have made in order to protect me and my family! You are appreciated.

Josh said...

Great post, Sarah!

I remember too. I was living in Birmingham, AL. I heard the breaking news on the radio about the first plane. It was short & simple report, no mention of size of plane or directness of impact or what part of the building. Unlike you, I HAD to assume it was an accident & probably a single engine prop plane (pilot had a heart attack or something completely strange). One of my closest friends (Elma) worked in the financial center RIGHT BESIDE the towers. I worried a bit but assumed she was fine. Only when the news of the 2nd place came on while I was driving into work did I seriously consider turning around & driving straight to NYC to make sure she was ok. I couldn't get thru to her for a LONG time. The building collapsed. The news had all of those images of the desperation & destruction. I told myself not to worry, but I couldn't obey. I was relieved to hear that, while she had actually been in a meeting in the first tower when it was hit, she evacuated immediately thereafter & began to go into shock when the 2nd tower was hit, completely breaking down when she saw the buildings falling while she was aboard the ferry crossing the Hudson to the NJ side where she lived. I was at best 50/50 that I didn't need to drive straight up there. To this day, I really wish I had. With all the repercussions of the events, I wasn't able to get up there for a full month (until Oct 11, 2001). I didn't lose any personally loved ones that day, but my loved ones lost loved ones. That I do remember.

I pray that the hatred & animosity that brought about such acts will be dealt with reasonably & effectively. Our military (your husband, my friends, neighbors & many others) is doing their part. Will the US State Department continue on the "hearts & minds" that their duty encompasses? Will the truth of our cultures' differences & values be understood in time to eradicate such unfounded desperation & use of terror? Or will the violence & hatred only increase?

LilBit said...

Oh Sarah.. You left me bawling!