My phone started ringing at 8:45am on a clear blue morning and wouldn’t stop. I answered to hear Jwolf’s voice say “turn on the TV now”. I knew it was going to be terrible.
There are so many things, fragments of emotion and memory from that day. I remember the utter confusion, the chaos, the terrible day unfolding before the world’s eyes in frightening realtime.
I remember the horror of CNN cutting away from the doomed jumpers, listening to the NYFD Chief go silent after giving sporadic reports from the base of the towers where the rescue efforts were being coordinated. The terrible footage of the impacts that were looped endlessly that first day. I remember the news anchors staying at their desks for almost 24 hours in some cases, growing ever more haggard as the bad news just kept coming. The speculation of who did this, the wide ranging estimates of the dead.
I remember the confusion of ascertaining the location of the president, and all the high ranking members of the government, the shocking concept of there not being a single civilian aircraft flying over the United States. The phone networks overloaded all across the country, as seemingly everyone in the world huddled around TVs and called loved ones.
By late in the day, the first of the missing posters and candles were being erected around Manhattan. The heartbreaking last text messages, and voicemails were starting to be aired. The term Ground Zero entered our vernacular in a new terrible way.
It changed us all forever. My greatest fear 10 years on is not of another terrorist attack. We are a great nation and great nations will always have enemies – many determined to bear arms against us. These challenges will be faced and overcome. My greatest fear is that 10 years on, we are already starting to forget – forever speeding forward at a million miles an hour in our consumer based culture.
For the first time in ten years I needed to make sure I remembered. This timeline is sure to bring up memories you had forgotten – it did for me. I’m amazed by all the small stories that even today are giving fresh perspectives on that day.
Remember the day, remember the sacrifices, the heroism of our fellow citizens on that terrible day, but most of all – simply remember. Not out of fear, but ten years on, with wisdom.
I Remember – What do you remember of that day?