the events of 9/11 took something very dear to me
|Someone I Would Never Meet
The day my fear changed the outcome of my life started out relatively normal, the sun had been shinning and the sky had been a crystal blue. I had finished my physical training run in the early light, while the air was still crisp. I then went home, took a hot shower, and got ready for work. When I left the house that morning, my husband and my 2-year-old son, Micheal, had been sitting snuggling on the couch watching the morning cartoons. I had gotten in my car and was listening to music on the radio, when I heard the announcer break in and say, “The North Tower of the World Trade Center has been struck by a passenger jetliner. There is fire and smoke billowing out of the top floors; there is chaos in Manhattan.” My first thought was that this was a radio show; almost like the ones I heard when I was a kid. I pulled up to my Captain’s office to deliver my financial reports. As I walked inside, I saw that everyone was standing in front of the TV. Wondering what had caught their attention I stood there and watched. Moments later I saw a second passenger jetliner strike the second building of the World Trade Center. I heard gasps and cries with the use of strong expletive language coming from my commanders, other soldiers, and officers around me. Then someone behind me announced, "This was no accident!" A few minutes later, the news anchor said this might have been terrorists. My commander turned back to say, “We will most likely go to war over this.” In that single moment, from that simple sentence, I felt real terror for the first time in my 22 years of life. Because of the historic travesty experienced by our country, as well as the fear and stress of the days that followed these events, I will never forget September 11, 2001.
All of the following events of that day intensified my fear as I watched new devastations occur, one after another. I watched the jet fuel intensified fires burn and black smoke rise out of the top of the towers, as people hung out the windows for fresh air, hoping to be rescued, but no help would come. I saw a number of people jumping from the upper floors of the World Trade Center, because they had no other way out and they knew it. My brain didn't know how to register this, it felt like a movie, but what kept running through my mind was, “This was real and it was happening right now to real people.” I saw pictures flash across the screen of the Pentagon; another airplane had struck the side of that building as well. We looked on with horror and disbelief in our eyes as the south tower of the World Trade Center started to collapse. It seemed to take forever for it to fall, almost as if time had stopped. People around me had yelled, "oh my God." Twenty some minutes later I stood stiffly frozen in my office staring at the TV with my mouth hanging open, heart racing, and holding my breath in shock; I watched the North Tower of the World Trade Center disintegrate with a loud rumble onto the streets of Manhattan to join its twin. I watched as people were running and fleeing the chaos in the thick dust that was engulfing everyone, and everything in its path. Knowing that thousands of people worked in those buildings was devastating, because I knew a lot of them had just died a truly tragic death. Right after this, I heard another plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania. It was a strange feeling to see that no one was working, because in the Army things never stop; even at night there are people on watch or running errands. With those tragic events unfolding, nothing was going on, no one came in or out of the office, no one even moved; and a pen dropping would have startled us. After the last couple of hour’s events, I felt physically drained and mentally terrified.
For the next couple of days, I sluggishly moved about shuffling around doing my job in zombie like fashion. I never could quite get my mind back on my job. I sadly thought of all the people that had been hurt by the malicious terrorists. I thought about my family; were they as scared as I was? Also, what would happen to them if I had to go to war? I knew then there was no way out of the inevitable, so I was panicked and petrified. I understood the cost and the death toll caused by war. I was in the Army so I could pay for college, not to go to war and fight, then maybe die. I did not want to die. I knew everyone would die at some time, but death coming early in life was my worst fear. I was taught in the Army that I had to be strong, courageous and tough, but for that period of time, I couldn't be anything but depressed and frightened. Thoughts of all the war movies I’ve seen kept popping up unwanted into my head. In those couple of days, my mind was constantly on alert waiting for orders that would send me to war, that I had been dreading. My nerves were shot and my body felt wound up so tightly, that I think I was making myself sick
Two days after the devastation of September 11, because I was feeling rather ill I went to see the doctor. To my surprise, I found out I was pregnant with my second child. My heart skipped with the knowledge, because among the last few days of chaos, something wonderful was happening. I rushed home and told my husband the joyous news. Immediately we started thinking up baby names. On my next doctor’s appointment, six weeks later, I went to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. Impatient and excited I waited to hear that tiny whooshing sound of the baby’s heart. When, all of a sudden, the doctor got a pinched, worried look on her face. At the sight of her face, something knotted in the pit of my stomach. It was then that I found out my baby had stopped growing and had died. My world dropped out from under me as if a trap door had been triggered. I felt my world falling away, and all I could do was cry. The doctor ran some tests to see what had happened. I learned to my despair that due to the mental stress of thinking I would soon be going to war, I lost this very precious child. It was devastating to know that the terrorists took something precious and treasured from me that I could never get back.
I hadn’t been there in New York or in the fields of Pennsylvania when these tragic events unfolded. I had been safely stationed hundreds of miles away, at Fort Bragg an Army base in North Carolina. However, they affected me all the same. Everyone knows the terrorists viciously took the lives of thousands of people that day from the Twin Towers, the soldiers and officers at the Pentagon, and the heroic passengers of flight 93, but I am glad they will never get the satisfaction of knowing their actions also took the life of my unborn child. They had been the most stressful and longest days I ever had to endure. The historic events of that day will always stay in my memory, not only because of the tragedies that happened to our country, but also because I lost a person I would never get to meet, never get to hold in my arms, never get to see grow up, but whom I would always love.