9/11 was 10 years ago, but 9/11 did have a little meaning for me

I was at work sitting in the office. Pretty sure I was working on some insurance agent’s order for brochures and duck’s (I worked at the world headquarters of AFLAC). It wasn’t very busy. On the phone, I hear in the background “a plane just hit the World Trade Center”.

Now at that moment, it didn’t quite sink in that it was a “big” plane or anything like that. Becky was listening to the radio and reports were not detailed just yet. The office assumed it was like a small engine plane, etc. But then somebody brought in a small tv, and all worked stopped.

When I saw the smoke coming out the building, I was in shock. But there was still no connection made just yet that it was a terrorist attack. It wasn’t until the reports of the Pentagon that two and two was put together. At that moment, I called my mom.

Reason I did that was one, my mom worked in the tower, and you couldn’t tell me that this could be happening all around. Second, my family is from New York and we still have family there.

Of course, lines are stupid. But I finally get through. She says she is about to leave and go home. So I tell everybody I’m out and leave.

I get home and turn on the tv and sit down. By then, all the reports were coming in. The time frames, size of the planes, everything. And by that particular time, the 1st tower was on it’s last legs. My mom wasn’t able to get in touch with anybody in New York.

News showed close ups of the building. Fires, people trying to get out cause of the smoke, people falling, etc. Then, the most unthinkable thing happened. Tower 1 came down. And as it crumbled, all I could do was cry. This was live, no film crews, this was real. So then all attention is turned to building two. My parents are still trying to reach family, to find out where they are at. Minutes later, tower two came down. Nothing but black smoke could be seen. Meanwhile you’re watching stories of what happened at the Pentagon and then the plane that was supposedly targeting the White House but didn’t make it.

Of course, everything had to be replayed like a trillion times, so I sat and watched the buildings crumble over and over, still really in disbelief. We had given up on trying to reach people through phone. Just had to sit and wait until lines cleared up.

Now prior to all of this, our family were planning to go up to New York to visit. I hadn’t been since we moved and this was looking like the first time we had gotten everything together where we could really go. 9/11 of course changed all of that.

A few weeks later, we were notified that indeed we had lost a family member in one of the towers. It was decided that the entire family go up for the funeral. This consisted of my family (mom,dad,brother) and my dad’s mom, all of his sisters and their children. They decided to drive up. Somehow, it was decided that we were going to fly. Now me being paranoid, I tried to argue how that wasn’t smart, for fact myself, my brother and my dad being on a plane at the same time…Plus I hate heights anyway, and in lieu of what had just happened not a month ago, I wasn’t comfortable.

But we did fly and we get to JFK and there are soldiers walking around with M-16’s and you have german shepherds all over. Our time was short, went to the funeral, ate with the family, came back. Not quite the trip I wanted, so, I made a decision to go back to New York on my own a few weeks later. I stayed with my aunt. A family friend took me around a few days, saw a few sights. But I had no interest of going to Empire State Building. Liberty Island was still closed, so we took a barge and saw it from a distance. I walked through the neighborhood in Queens at night (which thinking about it now, wasn’t the smartest thing, but I felt comfortable).

A few years after that, I was in Atlanta and found that I was still affected by what happened. I was sleeping in my apartment in Midtown Atlanta. I was awakened by a loud explosion. I fell out of my bed, ran to the window, and all I saw was a cloud of smoke. You couldn’t see anything on both sides of my building. I was about to call my folks when I stopped, looked at the time… It dawned on me that a building was scheduled to be demolished and I had forgotten about it.

So last Sunday Obama announces that Osama bin Laden has been killed. After a whole decade they tracked down the person responsible for planning and executing a plan that killed so many people directly and indirectly. Hundreds of families were affected for all time. I think the first thing I felt was remember 9/11 again. Next thing was, “it’s done”. But I can’t say I was jumping around like the people outside the White House.

What I can say, is that nobody will ever really forget what happened. I won’t.

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