Sunday, September 11, 2011

I will never forget.

"Where were you when the world stopped turning, on that September day?" This song by Alan Jackson brings tears to my eyes and a knot to my throat every time I hear it. It also sums up the feelings and thoughts that pass through out mind on every anniversary of 9/11 to date. Today we remember the terrible and horrific attacks that happened 10 years ago on our nations soil. My heart aches for those friends, family and loved ones lost that day, and to those who's lives continue to be altered because of the attacks. I don't want to post much today, I only wanted to share what I remember every year on this anniversary, where I was when I found out that the first world trade center tower had been hit by a plane. I would love to hear your stories also, I know this is one day that no one ever will forget what they were doing. It is a hugely significant part of our lives, a now a huge part of our history as a country. I know one day Stella will ask us what happened, why so many people mourn on this day, and we will explain to her what happened, where we were, and what has come of the whole situation. 

On September 11th, 2001, I was 18 years old, and had been living in Sitka, Alaska for all of 2 weeks. I woke up to a knock on my door around 7am. It was my young life leader, Brent Cunningham, a teacher from my high school whom I had moved to Sitka along with some friends and his family. He had a very sad look on his face, asked me to pack a bag and meet him downstairs. I looked across the hall to my friend Kayli, whom I had moved up there with just weeks earlier, she had the same confused look on her face as I did. We asked what had happened, and he told us there had been an attack on New York, the news was just starting to cover it, and we were going to stay with his family for a few days, just in case. Then, it registered, I heard sobbing, wailing, coming from down the hall. I quickly grabbed some clothes and shoved them in a backpack along with anything else I might have needed, and headed down the hall, where we met up with our friend Rebekah. We stopped in the rec room to watch the tv for a few minutes. Almost all of the girls in our dorm were in there, crowded around our tiny tv set, when we saw the second plane hit the tower. Screams let out through the halls, it was so shocking to watch. We headed downstairs and met up with some friends, told them where we were going, and signed out of the dorm, explaining that we might not be back for a few days. We then headed over to the Cunningham household, where we were greeted with huge hugs from Karin, Brent's wife, and their daughters Kailee and Megan. They had the tv on as well, and we all just stared in shock at what was going on. We sat curled up in blankets all day, watching the news. Learning that our airport, the main way off the island (no roads connect to Sitka from the mainland) had been closed along with every airport in the country, all planes were grounded until further notice. We also learned that the ferry, the only other way off the island, would not be in service either, until they had cleared and secured all terminals for threats. We were stuck. It was very weird, the planes were something that we had already gotten used to in our short time on the island. There were always flights going in and out, and you could see and hear the jets from our dorm. They were grounded for 3 full days, and we all watched as the first plane took off from the island. I finally got a hold of my family later that day. We had been trying to reach each other all day, but the phones were jammed all over the country. I told them where I was, that we were safe and in amazing company, but also how much I missed them and wished I could be home with them right now. I think we ended up staying the night, or two nights? The days all start to run together after such a vivid morning, but I do know that we did not return to the dorms right away. When we did we started learning things from people with family in New York. One girl in our dorm was from New Jersey, and had more people than she could count involved, I believe she flew home very soon after the attacks to spend time with family and friends. I am  so thankful to have had friends to be with during such a scary few days. 

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

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