everyone else is doing it…
I don’t think I’ve ever written about where I was on 9/11/01. It was pre-blog, pre-trying for baby. Back before the earth had ever stopped spinning for me. I count 3 times now – 9/11/2001, 10/11/2003, and 2/28/2010.
We lived in San Francisco at the time. We’d been there two years. I had to get out the door earlier than normal that morning to be at a meeting at a school (I worked in a private speech pathology practice) at 7 AM. So I’d showered already, and had a few minutes. I sat down at our computer and pulled up the New York Times. The picture of the first tower on fire was on the front page, and it was known a plane hit the tower, but not printed that it had been a passenger jet. I thought maybe a Cessna. Mr. Hope was in the shower – I popped my head in and told him that the World Trade Center had been hit. I didn’t know about the second (or third or fourth) plane at this point, though I know it was probably late enough, and I remember saying, “I bet this is that bin Laden guy” to Mr. Hope. I left for the meeting.
I listened to the radio on the way, and found out about the second plane hitting the tower. And the third plane hitting the pentagon.
They had canceled school by the time I got there and were evacuating the building. Our meeting continued as planned. The school was on the top of a hill, and I remember everyone (it was a large, litigious meeting) kept looking out the windows as if expecting to see a plane coming for us. They closed the bridges in and out of San Francisco at some point that day.
I honestly can’t tell you what happened at that meeting. I listened to Howard Stern in the car, and they said the towers were gone. Gone? I thought – what does that mean? Gone? I couldn’t even fathom. And then they were talking at that point about multiple planes potentially still in the air, maybe hijacked, maybe overseas, even. There was a lot of confusion. Traffic in the city was terrible, and I couldn’t call anyone on my phone – the cell networks were overloaded.
I went to work. All our therapy appointments were pretty much canceled by the time I got there. Schools were out, city buildings were emptied. I couldn’t reach Mr. Hope via phone. The other therapists and I sat around for a bit, then walked over to a bar off Polk street and just watched the coverage while we drank – it must have been barely 1PM. There were many others like us that day – sitting in small groups, stunned and glued to the coverage on the television.
My grandmother always talked about remembering where she was when she found out about JFK’s assassination. I’ll never forget 9/11. It’s changed the fabric of our lives in ways we’ve forgotten, but I’ll never forget the event that changed it all.