Here I am at the beach, thinking I need to upload pictures and fill folks in on my vacation. But being too lazy to let anything break me from enjoying a beautiful day with my family, I just sit in my beach chair. I am adoring my children as they build sand castles, laughing internally at my mother-in-law and her sister who are bickering to my right, and gazing at my husband who - after 12 years together - is still the sexiest man I know. My life is perfect. I couldn't be happier and gosh - what a beautiful, Carolina blue sky. And then I remembered..............
Today is September 11th. My God, how could it have slipped my mind!!! I remember that day all too well. I was living in DC and my office was two blocks away from the White House. I remember walking in and seeing everyone gathered in the conference room staring at the TV. Not me - I had work to do and couldn't be bothered with whatever trash The Today Show was reporting.
As I sat down at my desk, my phone started ringing and it was my mother. She was frantic trying to find out how close my brother's office was to the World Trade Center (he lives and works in NYC). I reminded her that his office moved into the World Trade Center just two weeks ago and she shrieks. She filled me in on what was going on. Then she shrieked again telling me a plane had just landed on 395 N (the major highway running through DC just past the Pentagon). That is when the security guards came through the office telling us to evacuate.
As I am walking out into the street, I felt like I was walking into a scene from a Tom Clancy film. You could see the smoke billowing over the building but I still had no idea what was really going on. Brian called and told me to just start walking and he'd come get me - well, he worked in Fairfax, VA, which wasn't exactly close. I ran down the mall, made my way through Georgetown, crossed over the Key Bridge and got a ride to a bank near his house where he met me. Never in all my life would I jump in stranger's car in the middle of Washington, DC, but that is how it was that day - and the days that followed. People were just in a total shock and greeting everyone with a "God Bless America" as you passed.
It wasn't until 2 hours later that I finally reached Brian's house and saw the coverage. Two planes had hit both the World Trade Center towers, they both collapsed, the plane didn't land on 395 but rather, the Pentagon and then also the flight in a Pennsylvania field. I just couldn't process what my eyes were seeing. THE PENTAGON!!!! How could something penetrate the Pentagon!
Four hours later, the cell phones that had been clogged all day were finally restored and we reached my brother. Tears flooded my face as I learned he had a doctors appointment that morning and was not at the World Trade Center. Then more tears flooded my heart to think about all the families that didn't get the wonderful news I received that my loved one was okay. I look at my children and think of all the mother's who have to raise their children and one day explain the horror that took their Daddy from them. It is still too much to comprehend.
I knew in those short days after September 11th that I would marry Brian, that we would not make DC our home and that our life would be wonderfully blessed safe in a sleepy, southern town. I was right. But today, of all days, I remember. Always remember...........