Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering September...

I don't think I've ever written my recollections of where I was on September 11, 2001, but this morning, I feel like I need to write it down.

I remember that I was on my way to class. I had a geomorphology class that morning, and as I was getting off the Northway to Plattsburgh, there was a little blurb on NPR about a plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers. I didn't think anything about it until I got into the Dunkin' Donuts to grab my morning bagel and hot chocolate - and that was where I saw the second plane hit the towers. We were all just stunned, standing there, and no one said a word. We just watched in complete disbelief as that second plane slammed head-on into the building.

When I got to school, people were talking about it. No one knew what the hell was going on. We sat through class - I don't think we were really thinking about geomorphology that morning - and when I got out of class and went to one of the school computers to check my email, I saw that there had been another plane that had crashed into the Pentagon, and reports of another plane downed in a field in rural Pennsylvania.

I went to my next class - environmental law - but all we could talk about was what was happening. It was just unbelievable. The professors and staff were all jumpy, too - no one knew what was going to happen next.

I had my lunch and called Tom, and he told me that they had watched the towers fall live on the news at work. They hadn't been doing much that morning - just watching the news coverage of this unbelievable, terrible day.

After lunch, I went to my next class - calculus - but we didn't talk about calculus that day. Instead, I distinctly remember my professor telling us, "I can guarantee you that once we find out who did this, they will be wiped off the face of the planet."

We found out after that class that the school was now in lockdown mode for security reasons. Students who lived on campus were supposed to return to their dorms, and those of us who lived off campus were ordered to go home. No one knew when school would re-open.

I drove home, listening to the radio the whole way. By some freak of the weather, we can get news radio 880 from New York City up here in the afternoons and evenings, so I listened as they talked about the devastation, the hordes of people walking home across the bridges, the road closures, the chaos, the confusion...

Tom and I went out to dinner that night. On the walk home, we noticed that many people had lit candles and placed them in their front windows or on the porch of their homes.

We laid in bed that night and didn't sleep. We left the radio on, tuning it back and forth between NPR and the New York City station. We listened to the mayor of New York City, the governor of New York, the emergency responders, the reporters, the residents, the employees who made it out alive...

I don't really know what else to say about that day. It's just one of those days where you can remember exactly where you were and exactly what you were doing. One of my professors compared it to the day that JFK was shot - she said that we would always remember exactly what we were doing and when we were doing it when everything happened.

So that's my way of remembering. And while I may not be remembering for the same reasons as everyone else, I remember.

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