Friday, September 9, 2011

Do you remember where you were?

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Even to write this blog there is a sadness that overcomes me from that day ten years ago.  Exactly ten years ago we had no idea what was getting ready to hit our country... and our hearts and lives.  

But then came THE DAY... I remember my aunt & uncle were at the beach, and my husband was officially opening a new practice.  My kids had just gone back to school.  On THE DAY -- Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I had just arrived at Community Bible Study in Shelby, NC, and had just heard on the radio that a plane had hit the towers.  I was totally confused about what they were talking about, and couldn't gain an understanding from what they were saying.  I went inside and people were watching on the TV's.  I left and went to call my husband, and some of his staff who were at a training session in Charlotte were so confused about what was going on.  Businesses where panicking and shutting down, rumors that the airport and Bank of America in Charlotte were at risk of being attacked were rampant.  Rumors were running wild, and no one felt safe.  There was a sense of disarray as I had never felt before, and hoped to never feel again.  The feeling that life would never be as we had known it before that day overtook everything in you. And the churches immediately started opening their doors for people to come in and start praying.  My first thoughts as a Mother were the safety of my children, and I wanted to just get them out of school and huddle in a safe place with them, but I also knew they didn't need to be panicked and needed to feel safe and assured with their friends.  Then there was the multitude of phone calls - trying to locate everyone I loved so much and just hear their voice and make sure they were safe and ok.  And then there were the thoughts of "what is going on.... maybe this is just a bad and horrible dream..." - but it wasn't.  Another plane hit, and then a plane crashed... and another one hit the Pentagon.  We had moved to Shelby in 2000, and prior to that my husband had been in the Army.  We had friends who had moved to the DC area, and the husband was working at the Pentagon.  So then a new panic set in... and the calls to try to reach them and make sure they were ok started.  And the reality of the loss kept sinking in deeper all through the day.  The numbers being given on the TV were astronomical at first, and everyone had such a sick feeling inside.  Any number was too many... but what was being guessed at was overwhelming.  In your heart you knew life could never be the same.  And as the day ticked by slowly it seemed the outlook got worse and worse.  Families torn apart - some ended completely. Mothers giving birth as they were finding out their husband was no where to be found... and husbands finding out they no longer had a wife coming home.  Children losing parents, but also so very many parents losing their children that day.  It doesn't get easier to lose a child just because they are grown up... it's a thought I try not to ponder on for too long.  Then the day started coming to an end and darkness came... and with it the feeling of desperation and fear.  Crying and heartache, and so very much fear for what was going to happen.  Not feeling safe at any turn.  People piled into the high school auditorium for a community wide prayer group - and there was not an empty seat left.  People were lining up everywhere.  Churches were packed, and stayed open all night for people to keep praying.  Everyone wanted to feel as close to each other and as close to God as possible.  And sadly, in many minds we knew that wouldn't last either.  The night was long, and if you turned on the TV there was nothing to watch except the planes crashing into the Twin Towers... or photos of the wreckage, or the damage to the Pentagon... film of people walking around in the thick, dark ash - desperate and afraid.  And there was no way to find any peace through the night.  Sleep was not an easy thing to accomplish.  That was THE DAY that did change so many lives, and how I remember it -- and life as I knew it did change in so many ways.

That day ten years ago on September 11, 2001, will not be forgotten.  Sadly, I fear that some of the lessons that we learned have already been put aside, though.