I had actually intended to write about something completely different today, but that can wait. I just went to Twitter and saw that #WhereWereYou was trending. I clicked on the hashtag and started reading gut-wrenching stories of people remembering where they were on the morning of September 11th, 2001. One lady was supposed to be in a meeting on the 15th floor of WTC1 at 9am and overslept. She woke up at 8:50 and missed her meeting. One person was working two blocks from the Pentagon and remembers ashes raining down. Many people shared pictures of their view that day. So much heartbreak, so many personal stories. And a buddy of mine retweeted this, which is so upsetting...
On September 11th, 2001, I was living in New Orleans. I had a place on Lake Pontchartrain, which has a nice path parallel to the lake in the area where I lived. I loved to get up early and go for a run to clear my head and start my day. It was a beautiful morning, not yet too hot but there was still plenty of the New Orleans humidity in the air. I got home, walked into my kitchen, and saw the red light blinking on my answering machine (It was 2001 after all!). I hit the button and as I was pouring my cereal, I heard my mom say nonchalantly "hey, just wondering if you were watching what's going on in New York. OK, I'll just talk to you later." Her voice was so normal that I didn't think a thing of her message. Looking back, she probably hadn't yet digested what she was watching because my mom is definitely a worrier and you can usually hear the fear or worry in her voice when something big is going on.
I sat down on the floor in front of my coffee table with my cereal, turned on the TV, and just a few seconds later, I saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center.
WHAT DID I JUST SEE?
I couldn't stop watching. I was in complete disbelief. I had my TV on NBC and The Today Show was showing replays of planes hitting buildings, the World Trade Centers then fell, New York and DC were under attack and another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania...what in the world was going on??? So much was unknown and Katie Couric and Matt Lauer were doing all that they could to get information out. I then turned on the radio station where I worked to see if they were talking about it, and we had already gone to wall-to-wall network coverage, where we would remain for a few days.
So here we are, 18 years later. It is so hard to believe it's been 18 years. So much has changed in our world in these 18 years, but there is one thing that's for sure... we will NEVER forget 9/11. I was fortunate enough to go to New York a few years ago and visit the 9/11 Memorial. If you have never been there, I SO HIGHLY recommend it. There is something in me that loves memorials and this is THE most beautifully done memorial I've ever seen... not to mention the fact that it's in the shadow of "Freedom Tower," officially known as One World Trade Center, which is the tallest building in America and the Western Hemisphere and stands a symbolic 1776 feet in height. The footprints of the former Twin Towers act as a memorial, and it is SO GORGEOUS. Here are a few pictures from my visit.
After visiting the 9/11 Memorial, we went to Ellis Island and on that boat ride, I took my favorite picture from my visit to New York...and possibly my favorite picture in my iPhone!!! It really doesn't need a caption, other than God Bless America!
Photo Credit on all photos: me! Casey Carter!