Eleven Years Ago, Today
Today was 9/11/12; eleven years after the horrific 9/11 tragedy. Today was also a day so very much like that day back in 2001, that it was eerie. The sun was shining, a clear blue sky above, and then, and then all hell broke loose!
- RECOLLECTION OF HOW THAT TRAGIC DAY BEGAN
- REACTIONS OF SHOCK, HORROR AND PANIC
- WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO?
- THE SILENT AFTERMATH
- IN LOOKING BACK
I am a free lance writer, a drug, alcohol and mental health professional, and (among other things) an old history buff from way back. It has been while researching my own genealogical roots that certain gnawing questions have occurred to me. It is also because of that fact that I have arrived at the decision to compose this article.
I have been fortunate enough to have descended from ancestors on both my paternal and maternal sides who’ve authored and published books about their heritage and their lives back in the 1800’s and before. I also consider myself very fortunate in having been bestowed with an abundance of the persistence and perseverance required to diligently pursue my long term goal of locating this invaluable information about not only those from whence I came, but about who I am, today. (However, that’s an entire ‘nother topic about which another published article will follow this one in the very near future, I can assure you!)
By the same token, in order to be completely forthright with you, I must divulge the fact that it was while pursuing my genealogical endeavors that more than one important, gnawing question I mentioned earlier, seemed to linger within my thoughts. It was in the midst of my research, that I realized that there’d been certain important, world changing historical events which had occurred during the lives of my ancestors. Historical events about which they neglected to write their families’ experiences in their documented family histories and memoirs. For example, where were my ancestors during those pronounced historical events and what were their personal experiences with, during and resulting from those events?
Possessing the incurably, inquisitive mind that I do, as I longed to have known far more than I was able to find documented, I found myself pondering the possibility that my own future family generations may experience some of the same curiosities and longings to which I seem to have fallen victim; longings to know more and more about myself and my family, i.e. their ancestors! It is, thus, primarily because of my desire for the benefit of the coming generations of my own family that I’ve undertaken this particular authoring endeavor. Hopefully, just as certain ancient publications have miraculously fallen into my hands, perhaps this publication will one day, too, fall into theirs.
RECOLLECTION OF HOW THAT TRAGIC DAY BEGAN
Now, if you will, permit me to proceed into my own family’s 2012 recollection of that horrific day, September 11, 2001 (otherwise known as “9/11.”)
It was approximately 9:20 A.M. (Central Standard Time) on a weekday. I’d opted to use a vacation day from work at my office and was at home here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was straightening my living room when the phone rang. I raised the receiver of the telephone to my ear to hear a tone in my young adult, daughter’s voice I’d never previously experienced. Her voice tone was one of unmistakable urgency, (bordering on sheer panic) as she instructed me to quickly turn-on my television set. As I reached for the “on – off” button on my TV, I thought I heard my daughter say something about something horrible having just taken place that was being broadcast “live.”
Much to my shock, horror and disbelief, there was a news announcer speaking as I watched a huge jet passenger aircraft smash, nose, first, into one of the Twin Towers in Manhattan, New York. Surely this could not really be happening, I’d thought to myself. I don’t know that there has been any time in my life during which I’ve experienced such massive confusion. My thoughts seemed to argue with themselves, “But no! This is AMERICA! Attacks don’t happen here in AMERICA!” Then, again, “But look at the television screen! Could this be some kind of sick trick the media would play? No, I don’t think so.” Judging from the undertone of despair in the news announcer’s voice, this was no trick! I recall stating to my daughter, “Oh my God, Honey! This is going to mean war!”
My daughter and I spoke for only a few minutes on the telephone. I told her that I was going to pack a few items and drive over to her house. We said “Good-bye” and I hung-up the phone.
There were countless stories of heart-breaking, family tragedies that followed over the next several months. Those were dark days, indeed. Thankfully, there has been no reoccurrence of 9/11 or of anything like it here in the United States. Not yet. Hopefully, not ever again.
©2009 by JC Eberhart
REACTIONS OF SHOCK, HORROR AND PANIC
As I rushed around to grab various items to pack inside my bag, my mind swam in a flurry of thoughts. Thoughts like, “What will we do? How could this happen? What does this mean? Who would do something so terrible? Why? What’s going to happen next? Are we going to be safe where we live?” It seemed as though the thoughts wouldn’t stop. Struggle though I did, I could find no answers to my own questions. Would there be anyone who could answer them?
I grabbed everything I thought I might need while asking myself, “But if I don’t take everything, will I ever see any of it again?”
WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO?
The next few days were dark days for all of us here in the United States of America. My daughter and son-in-law and I struggled to make sure that my two (then toddler) grandchildren learned nothing of what was happening. So many questions . . . so many fears . . . what to do . . . what to do?
That same morning, not long after the first, the second twin tower was also bombarded by a huge jet passenger airliner. Could things possibly grow any worse? Yes, oh yes. Within minutes, both towers crumbled, stack-by-stack, to the ground. “Oh dear God! No!”
THE SILENT AFTERMATH
There was nothing anyone could do. No answers to be found. Three of the longest days of my life were to follow. Those were the three days during which we heard no word of any kind from the President of the United States of America. I’d always looked to him for answers in any kind of country-related crisis. Where was he? Why won’t he tell us what is happening here?
On the third day after those atrocities, President Bush came on television and gave a speech. Today, I do not recall his speech, only his parting words, which were, “God bless America.” Those words passing between his lips were like a salve to my soul. At last, I felt able to climb from a pit of despair to once again being able to experience at least a small ray of hope. However, there was absolutely no denying the fact that our world, as we’d known it, had been completely shattered . . . never to be the same again. Not next year, not in five years, not ever.
IN LOOKING BACK
As I prepare to bring this article to a close, I cannot help wondering whether or not my ancestors intentionally neglected to include stories of the historical events that changed their world. I only know that while writing this article, I’ve found myself neglecting to include details of other’s horrific experiences and stories of that day when that unspeakable holocaust hit the Twin Towers in Manhattan, New York.
I find myself wondering whether or not the generations of my family to come, will really want to know, after all.