My family and I were living in Millersburg, Missouri with our three young children, ranging in age from one to six years old. My husband had already gone to work that morning and I was doing my usual routine, getting the kids breakfast.
I don’t watch television or listen to the radio in the mornings so I didn’t know there was any news of importance happening. We were in the process of getting our house painted, so I made a call to the paint store to order more paint.
I remember exactly what the man said when he answered the phone: “I’m surprised you’re calling this morning when the United States under is under attack.”
I was confused at first as he told me that a plane had hit the North Twin Tower. After we hung up, I turned on the television and just in time to see a live feed of a plane flying into the South Tower.
I felt ill and afraid. I began crying, causing my kids to ask me what was wrong.
There were no words; all I could think at that moment was, what else was in store for the U.S.?
I called my husband and we prayed for those who were in New York, experiencing the tragedy first hand. I believed my husband and kids were safe, but there were so many in New York who didn’t.
Following are words from my friend who lived on Staten Island on September 11 and she has graciously agreed to let me share her story with you.
“I was in bed pregnant with my son when my husband called to tell me someone hit the Twin Towers. They still thought it was an accident. I was watching as the second plane hit. Words cannot express the horror of knowing you were being attacked.
The phone lines and all communication went dead and you couldn’t reach anyone for a little while. Everything was shut down and wherever you where, you were stuck.
All the bridges and tunnels were closed and no one was allowed out. In the days that followed, it was difficult to go outside, as you couldn’t escape the smoke plumes. It was difficult to know all who were lost or could still be trapped under the rubble.
As the numbers grew for the death toll, no one asked, ‘Did you know anyone?’ It was, ‘Who did you know?’ Because everyone knew someone involved.
My oldest son was in kindergarten and at the time, my husband worked in midtown. It took 15 hours for him to get back home. My son was terrified for his dad and begged him not to return to work the next day, so he worked from home.
We lived on Staten Island and all the debris was to the dump there and you could smell the death in the air. Typically, New Yorkers aren’t fazed by anything, but this affected all.
My father did some work for the NJ/NY Responder and it was being used as a ferry to bring in fresh first responders to help.
When he got the call they needed him, he was surprised because the other Captain hadn’t been on long. After a few days he understood.
So many came to help from all over and got on raring to go and help, but came back different; broken by the devastation they had witnessed. My Dad said it was almost too much for the soul to bare seeing so much loss and knowing it was just the beginning.
I have never seen the entire city affected like that; it was quickly replaced by an outcry for vengeance. I don’t know a single person who was not deeply and forever changed by 911.”