Every year when this day rolls around, I reflect on that day, September 11, 2001. I imagine most Americans will never forget that day, and they will remember where they were, what they were doing and who they were with.
That day was different for me from the beginning. I had recently moved to Florida and on the morning of 9/11, I was heading to the county courthouse to serve as a juror for a trial. I remember listening to the radio in my car and hearing a report that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York City. I didn't think much of it as I headed to the courthouse. I was thinking about my day ahead and having to concentrate on the case that would be presented us. I arrived to the courthouse and immediately reported to the jury room where the other jurors had already arrived. We all introduced ourselves and began talking amongst ourselves. There was another juror there that was also from New York so we began telling the other jurors about New York and the different places they should see if they ever went to New York. There was a brief conversation about the new report of the plane that hit the World Trade Center, but none of us had seen any pictures or television footage, so we had no idea what had happened. The trial was to begin on this day and after about an hour of waiting in the jury room, we all became concerned as to why we haven't been brought to the courtroom. The room we were in was on an upper floor with huge windows overlooking the outside of the courthouse and in the far distance you could see a beautiful lake. As we looked out of the windows to pass the time, we noticed a lot of police activity outside of the courthouse. We just assumed it was some minor police emergency. The time crept by and another hour passed. We were now getting restless and anxious to begin this trial so we could go home. A couple hours after arriving, the Sheriff's deputy escorted us to the courtroom. We were relieved that we would finally be getting started, but as we entered the courtroom you immediately knew that something was very wrong. The only people in the courtroom was the two attorneys and the Judge. The courtroom was completely empty, which I found to be very strange. The Judge began to tell us what had happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As the Judge was speaking to us, he had tears rolling down his face. That is when I realized this was really serious and my first thought was to go get my children from school. The Judge dismissed us and I immediately went to pick my children up from school. The schools were sheer panic with parents frantically looking for their children and teachers trying to calm everyone down. I picked up my children and went home. I just wanted my family to be together because we didn't know what else was going to happen.
When I got home and saw the actual television images of what had happened I was horrified. Being from New York and seeing the World Trade Center collapsing was just unbelieveable to me. I thought about all of the times I had been in those towers. My brother and I used to meet sometimes at Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the North Tower for drinks after work. I thought of all the those people that were trapped in that restaurant on this day. I had briefly worked at the trade center at a bank branch. Those buildings were massive. I couldn't imagine who could want to hurt so many people. My sadness quickly turned to anger for the people responsible for this horrific act. I took it personally because this was my city and these sick people took away my many fond memories of working and socializing in those towers. This day was overwhelming for me. I thought about the people I may have known in those towers that have now lost their lives. It turns out I didn't know anyone personally that died in those towers, but at that time it was heart wrenching to think about. I watched television news reports until the wee hours of the morning, praying for those families who lost loved ones.
September 11, 2001, will forever be a day that I will never forget the feeling of being so vulnerable. Not knowing what will happen to our country. It changed all of our lives in so many ways. The airports are now a place where you have to go through so many different security measures. When you go into buildings around this country you are subjected to searches and metal detectors. There are cameras following your every move in this country now. Our lives have changed because of 9/11. I guess all of these new security measures are needed for the safety of our country, but it is sad to think about the freedoms we have had to sacrifice to do that. I hope we all never forget the many police officers, firefighters, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters who died on that day. This was a very sad day for our country and for the world, and we can only hope that we never have to experience this kind of pain ever again.
What was your 9/11 experience?