Remembering 9/11 10 years later

Ten years ago I was living in Hawaii. A full time missionary about to embark on a new adventure being a co-leader of a team of young adults that would end up going to India for two months. I was on staff with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). One of the leaders of the Discipleship Training School (DTS).

Being that there is a 6 hour time difference from the East Coast to Hawaii, I didn’t know what happened until I got up several hours after the terrorist attacks. I remember walking from my room to the kitchen looking up to see in big bold letters “THE WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWERS HAVE BEEN HIT” on a white board just outside the kitchen door. It was a place to put announcements up for the day. I remember thinking what in the world is going on. I wanted to watch the news all day and mostly I wanted to be with my family back in North Carolina. I really don’t remember what I did the rest of the day after learning about the attacks. I’m sure I talked with the other staff members and we gathered around a TV at some point to watch the news, prayed. Life didn’t slow down much for me and others after the attack.  We had phone calls to make to the students who were supposed to arrive for the DTS a week later. I was preparing myself for students saying they would not be flying any time soon, that I would understand. But that didn’t happen. Every single student said they were coming as on time as possible. They were determined to be at the school. For that, I was grateful. It seemed to bring some sense of “normalcy” to a situation that was anything but normal.

As I reflect on that time, I feel some what disconnected from the heart ache and pain that was brought on by this devastating attack. I recently told my mom that I will want to be glued to the TV on Sunday to watch as much footage of all that happened so that I can at least get a small glimpse of what took place. Being away from home at a time like that is not easy to begin with but the detachment I have felt for over ten years is also hard for me to grasp.

I don’t know if it is my way of dealing with emotions I have yet to give a voice to…

If you are reading this and you were in Hawaii with me, do you remember what we did? For some reason I only remember the first part of the day. Everything else is blank.

Where were you on September 11, 2001?


10 thoughts on “Remembering 9/11 10 years later

  1. I was at work in Charlotte and I remember we had a manager that was suppose to fly out for business later that afternoon and one that was in TX already and was suppose to be flying home. Needless to say we kept getting updates and hearing about the airports shutting down and how all the rental cars were already taken.
    We had heard about it over the radio and there was a TV downstairs in the marketing area. I left my desk and made my way down there to watch the news. Then I remember them seeing the buildings crumble on that tiny TV. What was crazy is I had somehow disconnected that people were INSIDE THE BUILDINGS. When it did set in I can’t describe the feeling. Knowing the chaos people were feeling. Not understanding what was going on. Then hearing reports about the Pentagon and the PA plane. I worked near the airport so there was this discomfort in that as well. Especially since we are a banking hub…would they be calculating a hit here too?.. There were so many unanswered questions and feeling like it was all just a movie you were watching and not real live news.

    • Heather, I think you summed up my disconnect in your last sentence…It was like a movie I was watching and not something that was really happening. Strange how that works. Thanks for sharing where you were on 9/11! Believe it or not that helps me when I hear about what other people were doing and going through at the time.

  2. Becky, I was on my way to work. I only had a 5 min. commute and had to stop at the vet on the way to drop my cats off and I heard on the radio that a plane had hit one tower. I thought it was an accident, a small plane, and it had clipped the uppermost point or something. When I got to the vet the receptionist was incoherent. I finally got her to take the cats and drove to work, just in time to watch – live – as the second plane hit. And then minutes later as one hit the Pentagon (where my husband often works) My husband works on Redstone Arsenal for the Army here in Huntsville and they immediately went into lock down mode. No one allowed to come or leave. (we found out later it was target #13 on the list) It was surreal. I worried about my kids at school but my mom taught where they were so that made me feel a bit better. My best friend was about 50 blocks away but I didn’t really know where she was – just in Manhattan somewhere. I found out later their original plan was to stay in the hotel at the towers. She called me to tell us they were allright and we both cried in relief and shock – she said she’d gone out on the street to see people walking and running away from the cloud of dust and they were covered with dust and crying as they stumbled along. We as a staff prayed and watched tv all day. I remember being terrified that this was the BEGINNING of a day long attack (which it originally was planned to be) and I just wanted to be home with my kids. They did let the kids out of school and my mom came over and we huddled around the tv the rest of the day.

    And on the anniversary – my husband is flying to Salt Lake City……yeah, makes me a little nervous.

    • Jan~ Thank you so much for sharing your experience. In some strange way hearing what other people went through has helped me in trying to get through my disconnect. I can’t imagine what your friend went through that day! I’m glad they decided to change their plans!

  3. I was at school, was just going from Business Law to Business math class, at ICC, when my teacher Mrs. Gasper was her name, told my class that a plane had hit the pentagon and the planes had hit the World Trade Center. She told us to get to the nearest TV, Instead of getting to the nearest TV I went to my minivan, and headed home. I turned on WXCL as I usually did after class (local Country station) and God Bless the USA was playing on the radio. I love the song, I sang with it all the way home because every radio station that i would switch to was playing it. It was kind of ironic, Lee Greenwood was at the Pekin Marigold Festival just the week before.

    Anyway, when I got home, I rushed into the house. Mom aka Grandma Miller was watching 17 month old Hannah for me while I was at class. I scooped Hannah up in my arms and held her tight as I watched the happenings on the TV. My Mom and I were in a state of shock. I prayed. Of course all planes were grounded that day, it was very weird seeing an empty sky with no vapor trails. Mom and I though, did happen to see Air Force 1 with the fighter escort in the sky. The coolest thing that I ever had seen!

    Went to Peoria for my night class to find out that class was canceled. Found out that gas prices were being gauged and tried to find cheap gas, which was at Casey’s in Tremont. Caseys is close to Grandma and Grandpa Bernier’s and I wanted to get to the nearest TV to hear President Bush Speak. I went to Grandma and Grandpa’s, and at the time they just got the internet. Grandma watched on Fox news while Grandpa and I watched on Fox News’s website. I introduced Grandpa to streaming internet video of the President Bush’s speech that day and he was amazed!

    Dan was at K-state and did not have a TV that was working at the time—he found out about the happenings on the radio.

  4. I was on my way to volunteer at the boys elementary school in Normal…. Several things I will never forget… watching people leap to their deaths from the the trade towers, hearing about flight 93 plumeting to the ground in Pa, and the complete silence and no vapor trails as all flights in the U.S. were grounded. It was all so astonishing to say the least… I guess the only thing I can say is that my generation now had their “Pearl Harbor”… the shock, the realization of mans inhumanity to man the epidemy of hatred… the taking of innocent lives. People who lost husbands,wives, brothers, sisters, moms. dads,sons, daughters, cousins etc. something I don’t think anyone should forget… but unfortunately with our PC society we can’t even call terrorists terrorists we white wash everything.. there is no black and white anymore everything is grey because after all we don’t want to offend anyone…. sorry for the rant but certain things tick me off..

  5. Becky…I remember seeing those words on the white board also. I had already watched all the news on TV, so I knew what was happening. Underneath those words were “Meet in Tin at __________” Do you remember we had a major major prayer meeting? or should I say prayer/cry/talk meeting. Someone brought out a picture of Osama Bin Laden, and yes, we prayed for Him! It was not without some controversary. I think the rest of the day we all milled about aimlessly, listening to the deafening SILENCE in the sky…no planes for 4 days.

    • Thank you Patty for your response! To be honest, I have no memory of that! I know it happened but for some reason I’m blank on a lot of details of that day. 😦 I’m sure that’s because I was in shock.

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