For some reason that morning I didn’t turn on the TV as I usually did while getting ready. Nor did I listen to the radio while I drove, in my typical morning daze, to the golf course where I worked back then. Thinking back now I’m really quite amazed I didn’t realize how few cars were on the road or how quickly I was at work, out of my car, passing through the kitchen and into the club house dinning room. It must have been record time. But for some reason I missed all of the signs that that morning was not right. And it wasn’t until that second when I stepped into the club house dinning room when I finally realized there was something terribly wrong. For there in the dinning room, every golf course employee was huddled around the big screen TV on the far wall which spat out frightful images that stopped me in my tracks. “What is this?”, I said out loud to anyone listening. And for a minute I concluded it must have been a movie. I mean, what else could it have been? Nothing that catastrophic could be real, could it?
Awful images of fire billowing out of one of the World Trade Center Towers with news flashes scrolling across the bottom of the screen and an anchorman talking about a plane striking the tower, it had to be a movie, right? Then at that moment, as I stood still trying to figure out what was happening, the channel replayed coverage of another plane hitting the next tower and everyone in the room gave out one collective gasp in disbelief. “What is this?” I exclaimed again, this time in panic to the closest person to me. Jon, the Assistant Golf Pro, turned to me with sadness in his usually happy eyes and said with a solemn voice , “Two planes have struck the World Trade Towers…they think it’s a terrorist attack”.
That evening, after speaking with every family member and loved one I could, I sat on the couch in my living room all alone and I cried. I cried for everyone, for everything I knew and for everything I didn’t. “Two planes have struck the World Trade Towers”, those words will ring in my mind forever as I’m sure they will for all of you who had similar, yet different experiences on that awful day. And as I sit here typing this while watching the 10 year anniversary tributes of the 911 attacks, I am filled with conflicting feelings. With my brow furrowed and choking back tears, I’m amazed there are so many stories we still haven’t heard, so many lives affected and forever changed. But one thing I know for sure…even though there is and will always be great sadness for the terrible loss we experienced on this day 10 years ago, we are resilient people. And the amazing memorial tributes for all the heroes and victims, which are quite awe inspiring and appropriately touching, definitely shows our country’s resilience more than ever. It makes me even more proud to be an American knowing our country has created such special places to honor all of the people who died that day and give a place their family members can go to grieve.
Photograph courtesy of Rachel Brenke Photography
So today, with all of you, I remember 911 with a heavy heart. Yet at the same time I’m filled with hope for tomorrow’s brightness. God bless.