My first child was 6 months and 3 days old when Good Morning America showed the planes crashing through the world trade centers. I didn’t really know what any of it meant at the time.
Terrorists were people who lived far away. Once in awhile they held a plane at gunpoint hoping to free one of their people from prison. I truly never gave them a second thought until that day.
I didn’t know if I should go to work or not. For one thing, I’d just came back to work from maternity leave. I didn’t have any vacation days left.
I didn’t know if I should risk taking my baby to daycare. Would she be safe? Would bombs start falling from the sky? How out of control could this terrorist problem become? I live in the Bay Area.
San Francisco is only 45 minutes from my house. By way the crow flies that’s not very far. Still, I felt I had enough distance between a major city and my home to not panic. I was scared. I was uncertain.
But I wouldn’t panic.
I took a chance. I took Paula to daycare and drove into work. The roads weren’t as busy as they’d normally be.
I turned on the AM radio to listen to news coverage on the event while I drove. How could this happen? Planes hijacked, crashing into buildings. On purpose.
All my coworkers were talking about the event. People were in a daze. Shocked. The lunch room TV was on while people huddled in the room watching the news. By this time the buildings had not collapsed yet. That would come later.
One coworker had tears in her eyes as she said. “All those people. All those people.” That stayed with me.
Not much work was being done. To be productive was impossible. All you could do was watch the news, talk to your work friends, call your family members.
They let us go home early.
I drove to my child, gave her a huge hug. I took her home and watched the rest of the day unfold on the TV. Buildings collapsed, dust/ash everywhere. People running. People missing.
What would all this mean for my future. For my child’s future?
Did we lose freedom that day?
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