I had seen my older kids off to school, and having been up with a toddler during the night, I went back to bed for a while, until, I thought she would wake me up again. My Man called from work, his voice was cracking and he sounded like he was crying. All he said was, "Do you have the TV on?" When I told him no, he said to turn it on. When I asked what channel, he said it didn't matter. Two airplanes had just hit the Twin Towers and he knew it was a terrorist attack. He than had to go. I turned on the TV and just stood there with my mouth open.
When my baby woke up a little while later, I sat in the chair in my bedroom and nursed her and cried. She was not even two, babies think everything revolves around them. She kept apologizing. I have NO idea why. "I sorry Mama. I be good. No crying." Only that she had probably seen her Daddy apologize for things when I was crying at other times. I kept telling her it wasn't her fault, she was just a baby, but I couldn't stop crying. I had the news on when the Pentagon was hit. My Man knew people there from work. I called him and he was at his bench and answered the phone. I told him the Pentagon was hit, and he talked to me for a few minutes and then said they had to get a TV in their work area, and that calls were coming in from "people" and he was NOT going to get home early that evening. Shit.
There were still planes in the air. We live under a flight pattern to O Hare. All of a sudden it seemed like a plane was going over the house every 2 seconds and I got very upset. I called My Man again, he answered and said, "Honey, they are going to close all the airports and are bringing the planes in, where ever they are. Don't worry." I was terrified. The news said that there could be "up to eleven more planes who are hijacked" in the air at that point and I thought Chicago was the target of at least a few of them. When the planes stopped going over and the sky quieted and they showed the traffic patterns with NO planes in the sky, I felt relieved. At least all the planes were on the ground. Then there was a report of a plane crashing in PA, I knew it was not a coincidence.
I was SO scared. I wanted My Man home, I wanted to go get my other kids from school, but I didn't want to start panic. I panicked and for some reason grabbed a couple of pillow cases and put our wedding album, a few pictures, videos of the kids, our meds, our medical records, and some water bottles and snacks in the bag. I was terrified that if big green trucks came down the street with bullhorns telling us to get out, I wouldn't be ready. (I was in High Anxiety Mode by now.) I was scared that Chicago would be hit next and was terrified My Man's place of work would be hit. He called me and said it was going to be OK and to calm down, he would probably be home by dinner time. He said he was scared the buildings would fall. I've never been to the Towers, but he has, I didn't know if collapse was possible, but I know little about architecture or metal stress or what temperature jet fuel burns at or what temperature steel melts at etc. He knows all these things.
I know about burns and crush injuries and thought "This is going to be a mess. They're going to need to send burn patients and crush injury patients all the way out to here (Chicago) and even maybe Canada, there's no way New York alone can handle all those injured."
I took the baby downstairs, with the filled pillow case and the diaper bag and put them near the door. I left the room to make the baby an other egg (she quietly wolfed down her first one while I watched the news and cried) and when I came back, I was staring at the TV and saying out loud, "Where the hell is The Tower? Is there too much smoke? It looks like there is only one." Then, the announcer said, "The New York Skyline has been changed forever." And I realized the World had changed. I sat there, while my completely silent baby ate her egg and watched Tower 1 fall as well.
My oldest called and said they had simply waled out of school because the teachers were all in shock with the TVs in the classrooms on, and she was scared. I picked up her from a friend, who couldn't get a hold of her Mom at work. We waited until her Mom was on the phone and said she'd be home in a few minutes. I didn't get my older kids, because I didn't want to cause panic in the lower grades.
I don't remember most of the rest of the day, except that the TV was on all the time. My younger ones had no idea what had happened. It was hard to explain without scaring them, NO it was impossible to explain without scaring them. We kept the news on and every hour or so some asshole was calling in bomb threats to buildings in both New York and Chicago. The Sears Tower had been evacuated, and every time they tried to re-open it, they'd get a bomb threat. It ended up being some jerk who worked there who didn't want to go to work, so they said.
I have Muslim neighbors and friends and patients and I was very worried about them as well. One woman's husband didn't let her leave the house for weeks, because he thought she would be targeted because of her head scarf. This broke my heart.
I saw a LOT of raw video footage on 9/11 that I have never seen since that day. Some people had gotten onto the Pile with a camera and were filming the Fire Men, just wandering around, picking up debris and dropping it as if to say, "What the fuck are we supposed to DO?"
For days I couldn't sleep. I kept waiting for the "other shoe to drop." At one point jets were scrambled right over our house (the day they re-opened O Hare) because someone freaked out on a plane, and a Sonic Boom knocked down one of my daughters who had just gone out to get the mail. We were all very scared. For weeks.
One of the saddest parts was I knew lots of doctors and nurses who were ready to go to New York and help with the wounded. There were not enough wounded left alive, after the Collapse for it to be worth any of them to go.
My Man found out the next day that his friends had actually not been IN the Pentagon at that time, but at a breakfast a few blocks away. It's odd when you feel thankful that YOUR own friends or relatives didn't get killed or hurt.
I remember all the rumors and all the talk and people jumping about a foot in the air when someone at the grocery store dropped a metal bar on the floor, a few days after 9/11. Every body looked around waiting for someone to drop or something to explode. It was only someone dropping a piece of metal by accident.
We have a full size flag pole outside our home. My Man went out when he got home that night and lowered the flag to half mast. He said, "I had really hoped I never had to do this for this reason." I made sure he kept our tie dyed Peace Flag just below the American Flag. I hoped it would make an impression on some people. Sadly, it didn't help.
Thanks for letting me get this out.