Each year when September 11 rolls around again, I’m reminded how tenuous our existence is on this planet. Who could believe that at any moment some rogue culture or group of lunatics could break through US security measures to destroy thousands of lives?
The victims on 911 were people who were doing their best to live honorable lives and support their families. Even if they’re were not totally honorable,, their chances were good to get it right – someday.
The victims of 911 would never get that chance.
As is usually the case on such an earth shattering day, I try to recall what I was doing before the earth shifted on its axis and fear settled over the plant like an eclipse of the sun.
Do you remember what you were doing at that moment and for days afterwards I do and I never want to forget.
I was a news junkie who watched 24-hour cable news. But I had taken advantage of the cooler September weather to do some long overdue chores in the garden. I didn’t even turn on the television that morning. At 9 a.m. I rushed inside to put on lipstick, spray some perfume and headed to T. E Lott, the CPA firm which volunteered for the task of acquiring nonprofit status for the Starkville Arts Council.
That was a big deal deal for the fledgling arts organization which is now a major positive force in our town.
As I cranked the car and backed out of my driveway, a news flash broke into the airwaves informing us that a small plane had crashed into one of the twin towers in New York City. “Puzzling,” I thought absently. The reported said it was an exceptionally clear day in .the airspace over New York and no clear reason for such a minor disaster.
“That almost seems intentional,” I thought absently, never dreaming how such an isolated incident could possible affect my community, my life, much less the world.
As I entered the CPA firm, nothing was as it should have been. People were frantically running into Jeff’soffice. I followed to find 15 people crowded around one painfully small television. I think that was before flat panel high definition televisions even existed.
The old clunker was transmitting the most terrifying scenes imaginable. Gratefully, “reality television” had a few years yet to go. While we watched in horror, another plane plowed into the Pentagon. The cold truth set in. America was under a siege we hadn’t imagined since Pearl Harbor.
I’ll never forget someone cut the TV’s sound and we had a prayer for the victims of this detestible tragedy.
I left and drove home to call my boys. You want to talk to your loved ones immediately at a time like that. I don’t think I even had a cell phone – at least not a reliable one. Once I heard their voices I took my golden retreiver Cajun and went over to my best friend Jack’s house. We watched the news coverage for hours and hours and made homemade pralines and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Sometimes the only way to cope is to have something your mother used to make for you. My mother made me grilled cheese sandwiches and Jack’s made pralines.
What do you remember about that day?