I got a phone call around 1030. The towers had been gone for hours by then (Keep in mind, I live on the west coast, which is three hours behind the east coast). My parents did not wake me to tell me what had happened before they left for work. My brothers likely did not find out until they got to school that morning. I was not in the habit of checking the news on TV or online, so I was blissfully unaware of what had happened.
My friend was on the phone in hysterics. I had to ask her three times to take a breath and calm down before I could make out enough to understand what she was trying to tell me. Then I turned on the news and watched in horror as the footage replayed.
The footage that stands out in my mind is the one a camera man captured from a block or so away from the second tower. The second plane is seen going overhead into the second tower. All is impossibly calm for a split second before the explosion tears out of the building.
I had been waiting to leave for the Air Force for over a year. My original ship out date had been August 14th, but had to be pushed back after a SNAFU in the paperwork. I would have been in boot camp on 9/11 had I left on that original date. The new date was September 26th. I was supposed to meet my recruiter the afternoon of 9/11 to go over some stuff. I remember calling and commenting as calmly as I could, “I guess we’re not meeting today.” His reply was, “No, I got recalled down to McChord. We might be able to meet tomorrow. I’ll call you and let you know.” Neither of us spoke about the attacks. There was no point.
9/11, if anything, made me more determined to serve in the military. I had friends who were terrified that I would be sent over to the Middle East straight out of boot camp. I told them that I would be reporting to my first base before any type of deployment was handed down. Others were terrified I would be hurt in the imminent war. I acknowledged those fears, but told those friend and family members that I had made up my mind. I was going.
I remember those thousands lost nine years ago. I am praying for their loved ones who left to pick up the pieces and find some way to move on. I have not forgotten. I will never forgot.