Since today is September 11, I really want to write about my feelings and thoughts on what happened on this date 21 years ago. Kindly refrain from criticizing me for writing this because it’s “not professional.”
Everybody who remembers that horrific day remembers where they were when they first heard the news. I was working in a university research lab at the time, and that morning my boss, a coworker, and I were cleaning out one of the lab freezers. While we were toiling away at this unpleasant task, a young woman from one of the other labs on the floor appeared in the doorway and stood there. This woman often visited our lab, since she and my boss were friends. But that day, she had a different reason for coming to see us. “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center,” she said.
I remember how her voice was completely devoid of emotion because she was in such shock.
A little radio in the lab was turned on, and I got on one of the computers to look at news sites. “What a horrible accident!” I was thinking. If only it had been…
The radio soon announced that the second tower had been hit by another plane, and soon afterwards, that there was an explosion at the Pentagon. That news especially hit home for me, since the Pentagon had been my father’s workplace for decades (although he had since retired). And as if all that wasn’t enough, then came the news of the plane crashing into a field in Pennsylvania.
“Do you know how many people are dead? Thousands!” my boss barked into my face as if the whole disaster were my fault.
“Jesus will come,” my coworker, a Christian who spoke broken English, said to me, trying to be soothing. Although I was a Christian (and still am), the thought of Jesus coming frightened me; I had always found the Book of Revelation terrifying.
Around noon, everyone at work was sent home, and when I arrived at my apartment, I alternated between watching the TV news reports and lying in bed. I could do nothing else—not even eat. I just tried to shut everything out because I couldn’t take any more.
Do you remember where you were?