Today is the five-year anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. Ron is at the Pentagon today. He left this morning with a couple extra kisses and "I love you"s and strict instructions not to be killed by an airplane or in any other way today. Five years ago he was there. Standing right outside the Pentagon, waiting for a shuttle. Watching the plane coming so fast, straight at him. He doesn't ever talk about it much but it must have been very scary. I was scared for just a moment but managed to stay firmly in denial until he showed up on the doorstep a few hours after it all happened. Life for us would go on. We would live happily ever after.
I read Alas, Babylon! over the weekend. That in combination with the 9/11 anniversary makes me wish for happily ever after forever. He's not allowed to leave me. Not ever.
I have included below what I wrote on the one-year anniversary of 9/11.
Reflections on 9/11
Here it is exactly one year later... The coverage and reminders are all over the television and radio and so it is on my mind. I need to tell my story. It is still hard to wrap my mind around the enormity of it all. Over 3000 people killed. 3000. That’s a lot. Does anyone even know what 3000 people looks like? It’s 3x more students than were in my high school. It’s 2x more people than were on my first ship, USS Cape Cod. Last year, when it was happening, I was so calm. Perhaps unnaturally calm. I tell people that I was in denial. I sat with Ryan and my mother-in-law, Lourna, watching it all on TV. Here I am, 9 months pregnant, watching the fire at the Pentagon. There were conflicting reports about where the plane had hit but one report said that the plane had hit the newly constructed area. That’s where Ron’s office is. I was worried but remaining very calm. I allowed myself to briefly consider what I would do if he had been killed. Would I sell the house? I would have to find a job. Would I move back home to Colorado or maybe to New Mexico? But enough of that. He was fine. He had to be. I told Mac (that was Isabella’s nickname before she was born) that she wasn’t allowed to be born until Daddy came home. I couldn’t call Ron on the cell phone because I had it in case I was to go into labor. I had his pager number but that was it. So we waited. Lots of people called, wondering if I had heard anything. No, nothing. Again, still very calm about it all. Finally at about noon, Ron pulled up outside. Thank God!
Ron is safe. I don’t know anyone who was killed or injured in the attacks. Life really goes on as usual. Isabella was born 2 weeks later on the 24th and that definitely kept me busy. A few times at church I was able to reflect on the tragedy and all who had lost their lives. Still it is so huge- very difficult to wrap your mind around it. 3000 people. That’s a lot of people, who left a lot of families behind. I still can’t imagine and don’t think about it too much. My daily life hasn’t been affected too much. I don’t worry about traveling. I don’t think the terrorists will have to make any more attacks for awhile. All they’ll have to do is threaten an attack and everyone will get all uptight and worried. They’ve made themselves known and can just play on our fears.
There was a documentary aired on TV of film shot inside the World Trade Center on September 11. I watched that. Very surreal. Very scary and disconcerting to watch all that is going on. People were actually jumping out of the windows. One of the firefighters’ comments was, “How bad must it be up there if the better option is to jump?!” Watching the documentary really made this whole thing more real to me. You were right there in the thick of it, not just watching news coverage from afar.
We went to NYC twice this summer. While there we went to see the WTC site. I remember thinking in general how clean the city was. In my mind, I was still imagining it covered in dust and rubble like I had seen it on TV and in the documentary months ago. The WTC site itself was nothing but a hole in the ground. The thing about it now is not what is there (all the rubble that had been there before clean-up) but what wasn’t there (two huge skyscrapers and thousands of people who had been killed).
Now it has been a year. I am thinking a lot about the tragedy. The enormity of it all is still hard to grasp. I have been watching a lot of the stories about the different families affected and I just cry every time. Even now as I think about it, I get teary-eyed. I guess I’m just having a delayed reaction! After the first few hours before Ron got home, I was no longer directly affected by the attacks and just stayed focused on my everyday life – running the household, taking care of the kids. I don’t think about it too much. Just lately with all the coverage I have been thinking a lot about it. I have had enough sadness this week. Hopefully I will be able to move it to the back of my mind again soon.