I was going to put out the next part of my story today; however, I didn’t realize - when I originally said that - that it was going to be 9/11 today. It was 17 years ago, but I can still tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing. I feel like many people forget how crazy that day was, I feel like some are so against America right now, that they don’t appreciate what this day meant to millions of families. We were not in a war, we were attacked, and we really weren’t sure what was going to happen next. There’s a country song called, “Where were you when the world stopped turning?” and I always think of that song when I think of today, so I’m going to tell you where I was.
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I was admitted into the hospital for another lung infection. Possibly the first one of “the season”, often times people with C.F. get sick with weather changes, particular from summer to fall. As your lungs get worse you get admitted more often with more infections. I was a little girl of thirteen and my grandmother was there with me. I was sitting in my bed, but I can’t recall if I were making crafts or my gram and I were playing a game. It’s hard to remember that part because we did both so often. She would read and I would be making some crazy thing for the nurses to buy. For anyone to buy really. I made jewelry, I made handcrafted gift bags, tags, and wrapping paper. I then offered to wrap presents for people. My gram made desserts, I sold them, and all the nurses and doctors complained we were making them fat. Gram did most of the baking work, but I kept all the profit. As a young entrepreneur, I knew if I kept my costs low it would make for ULTRA profits. She didn’t even make me pay her for the products! What we were doing before wasn’t important compared to the rest of the day.
My tv was turned on, but I wasn’t paying attention to it. I was too busy doing whatever else it was I was doing. All of a sudden the tv switched over to the news of an airplane crash. I remember my gram saying, “oh my god!” She hardly ever says that as I think she believes it’s sinful, but on a rare occasion when something is really bad she will. I looked up at the tv to see what the fuss was about. I saw a picture of a tall building with a plane in the side of it. Smoke billowing up and away.
“Woah! What the heck! How could that even happen!?” I started blathering on with a million questions and ideas about what had happened. The news broadcaster seemed frazzled. I remember that pretty specifically too. My nurse was in my room with us, but I kept leaning out toward the hall hollering updates to the other nurses. My room was across from the nurse's station and you could see my tv from the doorway. A couple other nurses stuck their head in to see what was going on off and on. We were all talking about what had happened and we were listening to the broadcast when the second building was hit. I watched it happen live, with my two very own eyes and I know they were bulging out of my head. Some nurses were in my room and standing in my doorway watching the news. The secretary jumped, made a squeaking noise, and ran out of the room. A couple other people left too but most of us stood there in udder shock. Bewildered. I remember it was one of the first times I felt truly confused.
“This can’t be a coincidence!” I burst out. Leaning forward on to my knees, with childlike wonder.
“Another plane just hit!” I yelled out into the hall. A couple of nurses ran in to see what was going on and it kind of just spread from there. Each person passing it on, a bunch of nurses in my room and at my door watching the news at any given time. All of us asking, was this some kind of giant mistake or were we under attack?
The third attack made it pretty obvious that this was no mistake, this was no coincidence. These planes had been hijacked. I remember between every crash I hollered out into the hallway, “Another one!” My gram was in shock, I was just confused and could feel the tension in the room. Gram was calling people and I was trying to figure out what was going on. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. I didn’t know what it meant, well… neither did the rest of the country.
I remember sitting there wondering what we should do. Listening to all the adults become so worried, wondering when it was going to stop or what was going to happen next. All the tension had me amped full of nervous energy and I didn’t know how to contain it. I was lucky enough that I had always felt safe as a child. I didn’t understand the feeling of not being safe, but I learned very quickly that day when you don’t know what’s going on around you, when you don’t know what someone is capable of, it makes you very afraid for what is coming next.
Together we watched all of the planes crash, we felt anxious for hours as we waited for something else to happen. We felt the pain for all of the families and we felt scared that it was going to happen again. Somewhere closer to our home, somewhere closer to us. For days and weeks, we didn’t know who was behind the attack. For days no planes flew overhead. We were a country that was on edge. We were scared for our lives and the lives of our families. As Americans, we hadn’t felt that for a very long time.
I was in the hospital with my grandmother. Surrounded by people who loved and cared about me, but away from my parents. My dad was working and my mom was home baking a cake for my younger brothers birthday, just two days away. It’s scary to be away from your family at a time like that. In a time of uneasiness and a time when you are unsure of what will happen next. For me, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what a terrorist attack meant. I had never had to worry about something like that before. I had never needed to be afraid, but that day something changed. We were all a little afraid that day. I hope it’s a feeling none of us have to have again. I wish it were a feeling no family or person had to worry about in any part of the world. I think that’s why I’m such a huge advocate of peace. Fighting escalates. Love binds us together.
RIP to all the men and women who died that day. Much love to all the families that lost loved ones. 9/11