A blog by bestselling author and journalist Ron Franscell
I was in my office in San Francisco fixing our server. My boss called me and he said to pack up and leave. I didn't know what was happening then. Fortunately, there was a television in the break room which I turned on immediately. As soon as I saw images, I saw a video of the second plane crash into the Twin Towers. I was completely frozen. For a few minutes, I stood there in front of the television while thoughts raced in my mind. I suddenly found myself in the middle of chaos and confusion. I packed up and left for home. Unfortunately, everyone else was in a rush too. I got home 3 hours later which was just too much since it only took me 30 minutes tops.So many questions left unanswered. Somehow, I suddenly felt vulnerable. Unsafe. Unprotected. I was scared and the horror didn't go away instantly.
My husband is a United pilot so I found out what was happening when our son called from Maryland to see make sure his dad was okay. (He was, in Anchorage, Alaska.) I went on about my business and got my car serviced. It took my husband five days to get home. That was the worst part of the event for me. However, I believe that 9/11 speeded up the timing of the denoument of the real problems in air transport in general and United in particular so that my life has changed very much since then. I would like to have the freedom to move about the world that we had before and I would like to have the income my husband had before. But other things, that have more to do with knowing and esteeming myself are definitely in a better place now, largely, I believe, due to the sequelae of that event.
I was in my classroom teaching when my principal called me to the door and said some moron flew a plane into the World Trade Center. The rest of the day was chaotic. No more teaching got done that day. When I got home, I pulled out my pictures of me standing on top of the WTC. Our world will Never be the same and we will NEVER forget.
I was teaching reading in my second grade classroom when a colleague came in and pulled me aside. She whispered that the World Trade Center towers had been hit by a plane, but that I shouldn't react as we were not to let the kids know anything had happened. Shortly after that it was my plan period and I raced those kids to art, raced back to my room and stood in front of the tv for 40 minutes. The towers came down just before I had to get the kids and return to the room. The rest of the day was a nightmare of trying to sound and appear normal for the children, while at the same time feeling sick,frightened, and isolated from the world. At lunch we all met in a room with a tv, and no one ate as we watched the horror replay again and again. The afternoon brought more pretense of normal while colleagues on succeeding plans made the rounds to tell those of us trapped in our rooms the latest. I'll never forget the relief of putting those kids on the bus, and getting home where it somehow felt safer. I watched the tv for days until I just could not watch any more.How has my life changed? Nothing has changed, and yet everything is different. I've learned a new appreciation for my family and friends. Nothing is taken for granted and I don't waste time on things that aren't important to me. I dont' know if it is a result of 9/11 or just my stage in life, but I am stronger in myself.
I started my day, as usual, by firing up the computer and the Drudge Report. I saw the headline of the first plane strike and thought it was a joke or some kind of mistake.The days that followed were difficult and painful. Watching the news coverage, the memorial at the national cathedral the recovery efforts in New York, stories of people searching for loved ones.I was driving down the highway shortly after airline traffic had resumed and was startled by the sight of a jet coming in low over the highway ahead. For a second, it was like watching one of those replays on television, except of course that this plane was landing at the airport.We've come along way since that awful day, but there is much, much more we need to do to help us be safe. It's up to each one of us who understands the nature of the threat we face to communicate that reality to many of our fellow citizens who may otherwise wish to forget.
That morning, I was very upset because one of my favorite players on the Broncos had been hurt the night before, and I worried that he was out for the season. I was on my way to the coffee shop to get a paper and I was getting out of the car, I heard the news that a plane had crashed into one of the WTC towers. I envisioned a little small commuter plane, and I thought, "Boy, some air traffic controller really screwed up."Getting back into the car, still upset about the football player's future, I heard that a second plane had hit. That stopped all thoughts about football. I suddenly was aware that something bigger was happening, something awful. I got to work and we soon had TV's on. I'm a high school teacher, and students were coming into the classroom, upset, questioning. We spent the rest of the day glued to the TV. That night I was just spent, but I remember wanting to reach out to family and friends and make sure they were okay. I spent a lot of time on the phone that night.I haven't ever again thought football was so important, and every time I'm upset about a loss connected with my team, I remember the morning of Sept. 11, and the loss loses its impact. I'm not completely vacant; it had other impacts as well, but I just remember the adjustment in perspective. Startling.
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