Where Were You?

9-11 is everywhere in the news these days.

It is hard to believe that another year has passed, let alone a decade.

I remember the morning clearly.

I have trouble forgetting it.

I see it in my sleep.

I relive the whole ordeal in my head with every commercial on t.v. and every article in magazines, newspapers and on the internet.

I find myself sobbing silently at odd times when the memories come up.

You would think that I had been sitting in one of those towers.

I wasn’t.

I was sitting in my living room, in a small duplex in St. Michael, PA.

I was rocking my baby who had just turned 1.

She had been up early and I was hoping she would fall asleep so we were rocking and I was watching Good Morning America and waiting for Regis and Kelly.

Probably 1,000,000 or more people were probably doing the same thing or something similar.

They were showing the weather with a live shot of the New York skyline when the plane just flew into the first tower. I remember thinking, “What just happened?”

I watched in disbelief as the events of the morning unfolded.

I did what every other wife did that morning.

I called my husband, a NPS Ranger, and told him to turn on the radio.

He came home a while later to check the television. He was sure I was mistaken.

I wasn’t.

He had to go back to work.

Not too long later, I watched as smoke billowed into the sky from Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA. A field a mere 30 miles away.

I tried calling my husband at work.

He wasn’t there.

He had been sent to the Staple Bend Tunnel trail to clear the trail and close the gate. The park was on high alert.

I needed him.

I put the baby in the car and tried to drive to the tunnel.

The freeway was closed.

The sideroads were empty.

I couldn’t find my husband, the park was already closed and he was gone.

I didn’t know where he was and I was furious with him for not being where I wanted him!

Crazy thoughts, I know, but it was a crazy morning.

I did find him eventually and sobbed into his shoulder.

Flight 93 had flown nearly over top of us on its’ way to Shanksville.

Shanksville would later become the Flight 93 National Memorial and would join his region of parks.

On the first anniversary of the attacks the Ranger found himself at Flight 93 helping to direct traffic for visitors. He described the scene as surreal with the President present and fighter jets flying overhead.

Over the years the Ranger has acted in many roles at the anniversary events at Flight 93. And each year I would have nightmares on September 10 and would live in suspense until he called to say he was on his way home from Flight 93.

It was an honor he was called upon to be a part of the annual ceremonies.

I think he missed only 2 in the last 9 years. One because my father-in-law had just passed away and the other because he was working in Kentucky.

I’m just selfish enough to be relieved that he won’t be in Shanksville this year. I’m just selfish enough to be relieved that he won’t be someplace that is a potential target because of visiting dignitaries and the fact that this field in the Middle of Nowhere, PA represents the failure of the terrorists and the victory of the American spirit.

I pray almost daily for those families who were affected most.

I was lucky.

I was one of those affected the least.

I thank God above daily for that fact.

I’m rambling, I know. Thanks for listening.


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