Do you remember where you were on 9/11? I was in college. Our Anglo-Saxon literature class had ended, and my roommate and I were on our way to drop off our bags in our room before lunch. There was a note on her board on her door that her fiance called and said he was fine. She was puzzled as to why he would have called during the day like that, and I jokingly asked whether they had had a fight. She replied in the negative and went the dorm phone to call him. She had a lot of trouble getting through–he worked near Washington DC. We had no idea what had happened.
A friend came out of her room down the hall and said quietly that she’d just heard on the radio that two planes had crashed into buildings in New York. I said it must have been a hoax or something–things like this don’t happen in the US of A, do they? I began to walk over to the Commons for lunch. On the “shortcut” trail from the dorm, just behind the Chapel, some girls rushed over with news that the Pentagon had also been attacked. I ran back to my room so fast that I couldn’t breathe to speak when I tried to tell my roommate why the phone lines were tied up.
Just like that, we’d gone from reading about ancient wars in an ancient form of our language to being in a very real modern war and listening to the news for the rest of the day.
We were an hour from DC and all day the phones rang–when one could get through–with family members checking on us.
That night some of us went to my roommate’s fiance’s apartment to watch President Bush address the nation. It was broadcast on campus, but we friends all stuck together. I remember looking up at the starry sky as we prepared to leave and thought how all planes had been grounded all across the country. In vain I watched for a plane’s blinking light to fly overhead. I wanted to see a plane; I wanted to feel safe again.
That was ten years ago (today I noticed several planes in the sky). Today at Church we sang “America the Beautiful” as a recessional hymn and I wasn’t the only person in Church with teary eyes. I have friends and family who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am grateful for them, and for the men and women in our Armed Forces who are sacrificing and fighting to keep our country safe for my children, for all of us. Thank you. You have our thoughts and prayers.