Like so many people I can remember where I was this day 12 years ago. I was sitting in a basement classroom in college waiting for class to start. I had finished my first class and this was the second. A woman in the class was just arriving on campus. She sat down next to me and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. At that point the reports were that it was a small airplane, not a commercial jetliner. My first thought was "how the hell do you crash into a building?"
I didn't think much more about it during class. When class was done and we all made our way upstairs we could see people in the lounge gathered around a tv. Something about the expressions on their faces and how silent everyone was made me go in the room.
"What's going on?" I asked another student in the room. She said two planes had hit the World Trade Center. Two?! And I could tell from the damage this was no small plane as originally reported. I stood staring at the tv screen confused. Where were they shooting this video from? The angle is so strange. I can't see the other tower. I didn't realize it had already fallen until a few seconds later when the second tower collapsed as well. I can remember a girl in the lounge crying that her dad worked there and she didn't know where he was. Her words snapped me back to reality. My dad worked there too. He was there for the '93 bombing too. All of a sudden I felt the panic. I had to get home. When the '93 attacks happened my dad left a message on our answering machine that he was ok and getting out of there. I was hoping for the same this time.
I don't really remember the drive home. There weren't many cars on the road but the one thing I did notice was there were no planes in the sky. Living only 25 minutes from Kennedy airport you hear and see a lot of planes throughout the day. There was nothing but blue skies that day.
I got home and there was no message. I tried to call my stepmom. The circuits were so busy from so many people trying to make calls I couldn't get the call to go through. I kept trying. I finally got through. She didn't know where he was. That was the first time I ever heard her cry.
Hours passed and we all sat glued to the tv watching the replay of what happened that morning. I was scheduled to go into work that afternoon. Thankfully we finally heard from my dad. He had to walk over one of the bridges to get out of Manhattan. He was safe.
I wish I could say that everyone had the same fortune. I still think about that girl in the lounge at school. I wonder if she was as lucky as we were.
As the days passed we learned of more and more people who went to work and didn't get to come home. Two firefighters who lived just blocks away from us never came home. More civilians from our town never came home.
Today I remember and am thankful but I wish everyone could have had the outcome we did.