There are some things that happen in life that one never forgets. For example, most who lived at the time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated can recall to this day every detail of the moment they heard the news. The same goes for when Elvis died. For me, two history events stand out in my mind that I will never forget.
The first event that I will always remember is when the space shuttle Challenger broke apart on January 28, 1986 and disintegrated before both before my eyes and the rest of my 7th grade class. It was even more traumatic for our particular school because our science teacher was in the competition to go on that voyage and she was so excited to watch this ascent into space that day. The shock of it all will never be forgotten in my mind. It was as if life became a slow motion action the rest of the day and nothing seemed normal anymore for awhile. We were all so sickened knowing the crew was just gone in an instant, just at the snap of a finger. It was so hard to fathom such a thing, especially as a 7th grader.
The other event that stands out in my mind were the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. At the time, I worked at Cigna Healthcare and I was getting ready for work and also waiting on my paramedic friend to come give me my allergy shot. I had put on one earring when the first plane hit. I never did put on my second earring that day, I just forgot about it. I even remember the earring was green that I was wearing and I had on an emerald green shirt. After the first plane hit, my friend arrived and I showed him on TV what was going on and we were about to walk out of the room thinking it was just a crazy accident, but then we overheard the broadcaster say that a second plane just hit. We quickly went back into my parents’ living room and stood there in disbelieve as they replayed the video of the second plane hitting. This is when it hit us both that this was no accident. We were both in shock. My sister then called me and she was nearly hysterical. She had a friend whose office was near one of the towers and she and her husband had recently visited there and even gotten their picture taken at the top of one of the towers as so many Americans have done through the years as part of the wonderful New York experience of touring that great city. She kept saying she was just standing there weeks earlier and she wondered if her friend was okay. After talking to her, it REALLY hit me how serious this was because now I pictured what I saw on TV with a person my sister knows being involved in the chaos of the smoke filling the streets as people ran in every direction trying to get away from the hideous monstrous cloud following them.
I went to work that day for my 10 hour shift as a customer service representative at an insurance company. It was the strangest day, the phones did not ring all day whereas normally they rang nonstop. We all sat there with tiny radios at the desks to keep up with the latest happenings. My muslim co-worker never returned to work after that day because of the danger of her driving to work by herself according to what our boss explained to us. I think her husband had tried to take her to work, but that did not even work out. She wore a headdress and it was very obvious she was muslim, so because of the events of the terrorists, she had become a victim of the hatred and outrage that was felt toward the terrorists as she went out in public. Incidentally, she was actually one of the nicest women I have ever met. I realized there was a difference in terrorists and my coworker and I felt sad that she was not even able to go out in public anymore. The terrorists needed to pay, not a customer service representative at my workplace.
Our day seemed to float by, as if we were living in a dream. The news of the pentagon came over the radios and we were once again shocked by what was going on. We also heard the news of Flight 93 that crash landed in Pennsylvania and wondered if the news would ever calm down. We barely spoke to each other that day, the entire call center was quieter than I had ever heard it. It was as if we were all in a day of silence as opposed to a moment of silence for all who were being found and for the hope that survivors would come out of the tragedies. I may have taken two calls the entire day. This was an indication the entire nation, and all businesses, were being affected the same way our place of business was reacting. We simply were stopped in our tracks that day from the shock and horror of the attack on American soil.
As the death tolls started coming in, the fear started building and speculation as to when and where another attack might occur. Another concern was making sure the President responded swiftly and powerfully to bring the terrorists down.
As the days passed and the stories unfolded, many miracles were told and it was obvious God was present on that scene. He was at work in the midst of the chaos and a special happening occurred through the tragedy, a very diverse nation came together as one, for justice. The volunteers from all over the nation showed up on site to help with rescue and any help needed. I was, and am, so proud of being an American as I saw the documentaries that were quickly put together to tell the personal stories of each of the almost 3,000 people who died that day, or later, as a result of the disaster and of the firefighters and policemen who also risked, and in some cases gave up, their lives for others that day.
As a proud American, I will never forget what happened that day. I will never forget the wonderful volunteers that showed up in New York for weeks and months later. The stories of courage from those on Flight 93 are enough to bring tears to the eyes even today. I will never forget the malice behind the attacks and I am not sure if everyone involved have actually been brought to justice at this point for I feel this had to be planned on a large scale to have been coordinated so precisely and to have been so successful.
I am proud of our military, all branches, for how they selflessly serve our country daily. Whether they believe in a cause or not, they do believe in America and that is the common denominator that holds this country together. I am so thankful for the many people who protect and serve to make sure our soil is as safe as it is every day. I can not even express how grateful I feel toward military families.
I pray God’s protection over our beautiful country and for God’s blessings and protection on this nation and for all the survivors as well as the families of the victims of that day. I pray His guiding hand on our military branches no matter their mission that God’s Will be done above all else. The nation was founded on “In God We Trust” so it would be nice if we do that every day. Trusting in God will remove fear and help us to rely on God’s strength to face the enemy against our nation.
May we NEVER FORGET September 11, 2001.
Little Tidbits of Teresa’s Life