i had woke up early that day because i needed to get to work early because i was working on a big project. i recently had been moved to the Engineering department and wanted to make sure i did my job well. i had been working probably two hours already when a close co-worker came in my office (in the 8am rush) and said that a plane had hit the Twin Towers. we chatted for a bit. he mentioned names like bin Laden, Hussien & how Clinton should have taken care of them years ago. i was still knew nothing of what he was talking about. (he had been in military intelligence for most of his career and evidently still had contacts)
a few moments later someone else came in and said the same thing. i was one of the few who was allowed internet at that time on their computers so i went to FoxNews and began watching the horror. after a little bit, the TV in the conference room (2 doors down from my office) was turned on and we remained glued to the TV most of the morning. our department meeting was to be around 9 that morning (we were on CDT back then so we were an hour behind NYC) and the conference room was filled, so my boss suggested we head outside to the picnic tables. as we all gathered around the picnic tables, the beautiful fall day had an eerie quality to it. not that i would have noticed planes before, but the sky was devoid of all evidence of any planes, another reminder of the horror that was taking place in another part of our country. by the time we got settled for our meeting, the towers had fallen. people had jumped from the 90th floor. people had been crushed in the rubble. people had been burned. and as we sat in the beautiful fall weather it seemed a remote distant problem.
my boss started the meeting by talking about the events of the day. what an act of terrorism, how America was under attack, and the speculation that had been going around that Chicago might be the next to be hit. during all this it still seemed like someone else’s issue, a sad and horrible thing, but that it was removed from me. and then he said something that forever changed my life. his next comment went something like this, “those people in the Twin Towers got up, made breakfast, got the kids around and went to work…just like we did…yet they aren’t going home.” in the midst of this department meeting, this horrible act of terrorism, now it was personal. it could have been me. my son was 2-1/2 and i was 31 and it could have been me. it shook me. it shook me to the core. the rest of the day was a blur. i remember leaving work and it taking almost an hour to drive the 8 minute drive home because of the line of cars at the gas station where people were paying almost $5.00 a gallon a gas. i walked in the door, walked into my husbands arms and sobbed. i went and picked my son up and held him close. knowing, realizing that i had the priviledge of coming home to my family…something hundreds were not getting to do that day.
i immediately went to the piano after my mom & wife duties were over that day. i played from my heart…of grief and thankgiving. it was a Tuesday and i had 4 days to prepare an offetory for church. what i had planned on wasn’t near enough now. the only Patriotic piece i had was from a highly advanced arranger and i knew i couldn’t pull it off…but in my state of mind…and the state of my soul…i played it that following Sunday. the church was silent as i began playing…and as the powerful yet unknowing introduction gave way to the quiet yet stirring notes…”oh beautiful for spacious skies….” there was an air of expectancy. when the last note was played there wasn’t a dry eye in the church or anyone left untouched. and i knew something inside of me was different.
my life changed that day. my narrow minded, judgemental, hypocritical outlook on life changed. no, it wasn’t over night…and it’s taken me a long time to understand that not everything i was taught early in my life is necessarily the RIGHT way. narrow mindedness has given away to tolerance. i go to great lengths to remain myself no matter what scenario i find myself. it hasn’t been easy. mistakes have been made, sins committed, people hurt. but i am LIVING life instead of watching it go by. i remember every 9/11…in the midst of the horror…how to be truly thankful and to remember to LIVE and not watch life go on around me. may we never forget!!!