Remembering 9-11

In my lifetime there have been three major events that I can vividly recall where I was when I heard the news.

When I was quite small, my mom and I were sitting in our car waiting for my brother’s bus when a radio across the road blared the report that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Years later, I was wandering through a local shopping mall when I encountered an ashen-faced friend who told me in a trembling voice that the Challenger had exploded.

And then there was September 11, 2001.

Five years ago, I taught yoga on Tuesday mornings at the Millsop Community Center in Weirton, West Virginia. So while the nation lost its innocence, my students and I were blissfully unaware. When I came out of class, Lucille, who worked the front counter, told me of the planes crashing into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. I waited with a stupid smile on my face for a punch line that never came.

During the half hour drive home, I listen aghast to the radio. During that half hour, the second tower collapsed and a fourth plane crashed into a field in Shanksville PA. I remember thinking of the old War of the Worlds radio broadcast and how people mistook it for fact. Surely this had to be something like that happening again. But I knew otherwise. I remember looking up as I drove, half expecting to see planes falling from the sky. And I remember wanting desperately to beat it home and be with my family.

In the days that followed, all flights were grounded. I live under some of the major flight paths for the Pittsburgh International Airport. The silence during those days was nothing short of eerie. I’m so accustomed to hearing planes overhead that I don’t even notice them. But I noticed when they were gone. And the sky looked different. No white contrails blending into the clouds.

We’ve all grown up a little since that day five years ago today. I’m not sure it’s a good thing. I miss that blissful ignorance that I experienced during yoga class that morning.

In memory of those who lost their lives aboard those four airplanes and inside the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon as well as those who valiantly gave their lives in the rescue efforts.


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