Sunday, September 11, 2011

What September 11, 2001 meant to me

Pin It I wasn't going to acknowledge this day, but it's weighing heavily on my mind so I figured it would be better to just get it all out.  This is my outlet.
I was a newlywed, married just over a month.  I worked in the Conference Services offices of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.  My husband was deployed.
The offices of the resort were located in the basement of the Williamsburg Lodge, where we had no television reception, poor radio reception, and little contact to the outside world aside from telephones and internet.
Suddenly that morning our phones started ringing off the hook.  People were cancelling their conferences.  Huge corporations were cancelling their conferences.  What was going on?
Then the Food and Beverage director ran into the offices and said that a plane had crashed into the first tower of the World Trade Center.  One of my co-workers yelled, "IN NEW YORK?!".  I very distinctly remember that.  We didn't know what to think.  We trickled upstairs into the lobby to watch the news on the television up there.  We got on our computers to find news on the internet.  People called their loved ones. 
On my lunch break, three of us went over to a co-worker's house to watch the news, as she was the only one that actually lived in Williamsburg.  I sat on the floor of her living room hovering over my un-touched lunch with my mouth wide open. 
I hadn't heard from my husband.  How could I?  He was on a ship and they rarely got to make radio calls.  I was sick to my stomach, scared senseless and went back to work in a complete daze.  Nothing got done that day.  Not only because we were all too shocked to do anything, but because there wasn't much to do with all of the conferences for six months out being cancelled.
That night I went home from work and sat in our townhouse alone hoping to get a phone call.  When my phone rang, I ran to it.  It was my dad.  My dad.  My dad never called me!  He wanted to know if I'd heard from my husband and what this meant for him.  I had no answers for him. It was a few days before I heard from him.
Though my husband and I are now divorced, when I think of that day, all of that desperation, grief and agonizing uncertainly all comes flooding back.  I don't think that will ever change.
What that day reminds me of the most, though is how united we became as a country.  The tragedy brought everyone closer.  For a few months, partisanship meant nothing.  We were all just people.  People that drove around with flags flying from the windows of cars, people that tied yellow ribbons around the trees in their yard, people that mourned loss and celebrated life.  Together.
What have we become now, just ten years later?  Will it take another tragedy for us to stop the political bickering and be civilized, caring, unified adults again?