I was in bed, happy to be sleeping in, on Sept 11, 2001. It was Wendell's day off, so he was up with our two small children, Emma (2) and Anson (10 months). I awoke grumpy and abruptly as Wendell shook me awake with urgency.
"What?" I snapped.
"I'm sorry to wake you, but a tower in New York City has just been hit by an airplane."
We couldn't afford cable and we couldn't get any reception with an antenna. The only channel that did come in, was a very snowy Fox 13. I remember thinking it was weird that Wendell even had the TV on, to this day, I don't know why he did. As I stumbled into the living room, the second plane hit the second tower. It was evident, this was an attack. Who was attacking us and how they commandeered commercial planes, would take time to find out. To a degree, it was moot.
Wendell and I sat on our couch and watched in horror as the towers went down, knowing they were full of people. Knowing those people were dying right before our eyes. I clasped my hand over my mouth, unable to voice anything. We watched the people run through the streets from clouds of dust and debris as the Twin Towers went down.
We wanted so much more than our snowy coverage could provide, so we quickly dressed, packed up the kids and went to Wendell's parent's home to watch the news. Today Emma and Anson asked what they were doing. I don't have any real recollection. I don't remember eating anything that day, either, though I'm sure we did.
I just remember the news. A plane hit the pentagon. The President was safe. The President had been moved and was constantly being moved. All planes were being grounded. Another plane went down in Pennsylvania.
In the days and weeks that followed, I was touched by so many stories. Stories of heroism and valor. There is one that I will never forget. A young couple with two small children were preparing their kids for the death of a parent. Their mother had cancer and only had weeks left to live. Though, he didn't usually work there, on Sept 11, this father was in one of the upper floors, laying tile, part of a crew remodeling a business suite.
As his family watched the news coverage, the young mother was unconsolable. She knew her husband was dead. And in weeks, her children were orphans. Though I don't know his name, today I honor this man, who went to work, just like any other day, and never came home.
It is a day I will never forget.