I was in the shower. I’d spent an early morning cleaning my mom’s house getting it ready to sell. My aunt and uncle where there, working to close out mom’s estate.
The phone rang, and I ignored it. I mean I was in the shower. But it rang again. And again. So I wrapped a towel around me and with soapy hair I answered the phone.
It was my aunt. “Turn on your TV” is all she said before she clicked off.
I did. Information was confusing. Seemed a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. It was sad, but I didn’t get it yet.
I remember watching one of the morning shows. They were outside and the backdrop was the towers. I called work to say I’d be even later. They said everyone was watching the news. My boss made a joke about drunk pilots.
Then it happened. Some people knew already, but in that moment we all knew. The second plane hit.
Live, on TV.
We were under attack.
As the morning unfolded, the rest of the story came out. Pentagon. Pennsylvania. I drove in to work scared.
Once there I found every TV on the news. We couldn’t believe it. We were shocked. People were scared. A few were crying.
We watched, and we all saw people jump from the top of the towers to escape the flames. Horrible.
Then the day that couldn’t get worse, did. The tower fell.
Crying was the norm now. What could be worse than that? We found out a little later when the last tower came tumbling down.
All broadcast live.
I’m not naive. We all have our 9/11 story. It is our moment, a shared experience. No other event in my lifetime has both unified and divided us the way this did.
As you remember 9/11, I won’t ask that you remember the first responders, or the fallen. You’ll get asked that enough. I’ll ask that you remember housewives and working Joes. Remember yourself. And that shared day of terror and sadness.