Friday, September 11, 2009

Reflecting on 9/11/2001

The Doctor was working for a company called Capita Technologies during 2001. He had been doing a lot of business travel, teaching software classes, and working from home when he was not on the road. In late May, the headquarters informed him one Thursday that he was expected in Reading, England on Monday morning for a 3-6 month assignment.

We weren't really prepared for that, aside from the fact that my husband had a passport!

Our daughter, Ella, was about 18 months old when The Doctor left for Reading, to work at British Telecom. We quickly made plans for Ella and me to visit him during the month of July. We spent 3 weeks in Reading with The Doctor, making side trips to Wales, London, and a few other places on the weekends.

We spent 2 weeks driving around Scotland and visiting Aberdeen, Edinburgh,Dundee, Inverness, Dornie, the Isle of Skye, Glasgow, and Oban. It was absolutely magical. I had a wonderful time traveling, and Ella was a fantastic sidekick.

While in England, we were told that there was a plan to have The Doctor stay in the UK until at least Christmas, followed by a stay in Germany.

Upon returning to the US, I selected a realtor, put our home on the market, loaded everything up and put it in a storage facility, sold the house, and went to stay with my mother in law in the mountains until The Doctor was due to return to the States for his 10 year high school reunion.

He was due to land at Dulles during the morning of September 11, 2001. A fine fall day, which for us and many others started out beautiful, clear, and otherwise unremarkable.

I was still in bed with Ella when the first tower was hit. My mother in law received a phone call and turned on the tv. She came to get me, and we watched in horror as they replayed the images from the first tower being hit. As we watched, the second tower was hit.

When Ella woke up, I had never been so thankful in my life for multiple televisions and her love for the Nick Jr. morning tv line up! My mother in law and I were positively glued to the TV that entire morning and early afternoon, and Ella never saw any footage whatsoever.

If you are interested in showing your children the footage from 9/11, CalvaryGirl has the youtube videos linked on her site. I have been moved while reading others remembrances, and do not feel the need to include an image here.

I made many many attempts at contacting my husband. I had no idea if he was in London at Heatherow, in flight, if his plane had landed in the States, if he had been re-routed to Canada.

He was less than half way through his flight to Dulles when the captain was informed that the borders were closed and that the flight had been recalled to Heatherow. He eventually got word to a friend to get word to me, but I didn't hear anything until nearly midnight that evening.

When I think about 9/11, I think about horrific images of people jumping out of buildings because the heat was so intense they had no choice, I think about people running from the collapsing buildings, I think about the obliteration of Flight 93 in the field where there were hardly even scraps of metal. I think of many graphic and terrible things I saw that day. I think about bravery on the part of police, fireman, EMTs, doctors, nurses, American and international citizens, all coming together to do what they could to help in the face of the unimaginable horror of the crashes and explosions and clouds of ash and rubble.

I also think of being apart from my beloved when the borders to our country had been closed, with him on the other side of the Atlantic. I think of how many times a day I called him before he came home in October. God, in his graciousness, decided to interact on behalf of my obsessive need to talk to my husband during that time. To call internationally, the first three digits you dial to get out of the country are 011 I think. When my phone bill came, all the calls I had made overseas in the month of October were listed as going to an Alabama area code (011) rather tahn overseas. I was so humbled to realize that God was even paying attention to me and to our finances during this time of loss and fear in our country.

I also think about how our lives changed course due to the attacks. We had tickets to leave out of Atlanta on 9/16 to relocate to England. When 9/11 happened, the work that my husband was doing in the UK nearly ground to a halt, and all the extra contractors were let go.

We lived with my mother in law for several weeks before we relocated to Odenton, MD, between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Capita had no real idea what they were going to do to employ my husband, but they figured he could do some consulting at the nearby air force base once his clearance was increased. I had several graphic nightmares, I am sure many who were personally touched or who watched from afar also did. Mine were probably due to the fact that were were 15 minutes from Baltimore International Airport in our apartment.

My birthday is September 15th, and each year as it approaches, I stop to consider those who were lost and affected by the tragedy of 9/11. I will never forget, and I hope you won't either.


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