Sunday, September 11, 2011

My September 11th

Whenever there is an event that impacts more then one person at the same time you will get dozens of versions to that same event. Each one with a different view of the event and it's outcome. Here is mine...

September 11th had always been just the day after my daughter's birthday, no significance other then I made it through another birthday party. It was also usually when my mind focused on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. These were my most favorite holidays ever but they also were my busiest and hardest to get ready for. But in 2001 like with most of the world this would be a day etched in my heart for the rest of my life. There have been many days in U.S. history that have impacted Americans lives. Often like December 7th 1941 these days not only impact our lives but also lives around the world.

My husband was working, my children and I were all in school. I had just left my first class and was on my way to my second class when a fellow student ran by her face ashen, she muttered they flew into the trade tower... I said what? Her response.. go to the student center as she kept running. As I approached the center's big screen T.V. was on and there was the New York Skyline with the north tower 1 on flames. There were people leaning out waving items asking for help, others were jumping to their deaths preferring a death of their own choosing to the smoke, fire and flames around them. There was utter silence all around me as we stared with disbelief. Then the second plane hit as we stood there, many had their mouths open, a few their mouths set in a determined line. I stood there for a while just staring feeling empty and confused. An administrator came by and told us that anyone scheduled for class should head to class, so I turned to go, but I can not remember going. Only my return to the big screen, I arrived back in time to see tower 2 collapse, the panic the cloud of debris. People running for their lives. Then went tower 1.There were reports of a third plane hitting the pentagon and a 4th maybe more planes we were under attack. I don't remember leaving school or arriving home, I only remember the feeling of helplessness and violation of utter sadness. I collected my daughter and my son arrived from his school, he was a senior and had driven himself. I had no idea how much this day would impact our lives.
But it scared me. I don't remember my children's reaction nor that of my husband when he came home. I only remember watching over and over as they replayed the crashes and more bits and pieces were relayed to us. I don't think anyone in America slept that night, we stared at our T.V. screens and prayed that they would find survivors. I vaguely remember that our President had been in Florida and at one time was at Offut AFB in Nebraska but now was on his way back to Washington. I said a prayer that My God would guide this man, he had just been handed a plate of I don't want to be here. It would take a strong and good leader to handle this situation.

As the days went by we saw replays and heard stories of survival and learned the names of the hero's who died. We found out the names of the terrorists and it was the first time I heard the word al qaeda. The numbers of the dead jumped all over the place it was in the thousands...the streets of New York was plastered with pictures of the missing. We were encouraged to not let this change our lives and to continue as if this did not happen, resume life.Streets were plastered with American flags as people proudly displayed their love and support for this country. Yet for many life would never be the same, it has not been for us.

My husband who has a degree in electronics,lost his job along with most of the adults in our town. This is a town who's main source of income is factory work. The industries took this opportunity of crisis to shut down and move their operations to 3rd world countries where they could make a killing financially. In desperation Rick applied for every job that opened up, one was as a clerk at the local movie rental place, he came home and announced that 60 other men over the age of 30 also showed up and the next place had over 80. As you drove around our town there were blocks lined with for sale signs as families packed up and moved on. Forsaking any roots they had in our community, it felt like we were living through a scene in the grapes of wrath. To say life was surreal is an understatement. Rick finally got hired permanently for a company that believed that layoff's were the wave of the future, every few weeks he would get laid off. We were in jeopardy of losing our home. So he took a job as a paint and body man for a trucking company. Our finances stabilized some but the job was still unstable so he moved on to another body shop and was soon laid off again. Then our son went into the U.S. Marine Corps and was off to Iraq, Just before Christmas that year Rick received an offer to start working in January but before he could start,I was diagnosed with Leukemia and we had no insurance, no steady income. Rick works six days a week, sometimes seven for his company. He is not allowed to take vacation days unless he can find someone willing to work his hours for him. If he doesn't use his vacation days he loses them. He doesn't leave because there is no other jobs available and my medical bills are staggering. It's staggering how one event can change a life so completely, it is like the domino affect only there seems to be no end to the chain.

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