Eleven years ago today will always be etched in my mind and forever in my memory. It was a beautiful crisp sunny morning in North Carolina. I was listening to a favorite radio program and planning my business day ahead; when all of a sudden an emergency message came on and urged everyone to pray and turn on their TV.
I could not imagine what I would soon see. As I grabbed the remote to click to my favorite news station, my mind was racing. Was our country being attacked? Were our leaders safe? Where was my family? Was I safe?
I was not prepared to see the next image that roared from my TV. I saw the raging fire, the buildings, and realized where they were located. I saw the second plane storm into the second tower. I couldn’t comprehend the total picture, but I knew I needed to contact my husband before he left the Post Office to deliver his mail route.
As I hurriedly pressed the buttons I was thinking ahead. As I am a “list maker,” I started jotting down what I needed to do. When my husband came to the phone I was so glad I was able to reach him and share my love for him. He advised they had all the news coming into them very quickly, and they were being prepared for what they might face.
I had not had time to think about the fact that as a Postal employee in a uniform, even though they were now a private agency, they were still thought of as “government employees”, which could put them in danger too!
My husband and I decided to pray and continue on in the mission of our day. He would probably be late getting home, and I had a big business event planned that night which would surely have to be rescheduled. But our first thoughts were of our children, grand children and other family members. I told him I would contact everyone, and reach him later on that day, as this was a time before everyone carried cell phones!
As I hung up from that call, I began hearing all the stories that could not be confirmed with the true facts. Everything was happening so fast, and as I worked to reach all our family, it took longer than usual to make the phone connections. As I completed my list, and assured them we were fine, I wanted to make sure each one of them knew how much I loved them. That was the one key element on my mind and in my heart.
The next thing on my list was to contact the lady in charge of our business event, and see what her thoughts were. She worked at a hospital, and it took me a long while to reach her. When I finally contacted her, she advised she had been in touch with all who were on the agenda, and our guests, and they all wanted to still have the event. She asked me would I consider doing it instead of being at home with my family?
What a choice! I know some of you might not agree with my decision, but I felt I needed to be there. I contacted my husband and he felt the same way.
My list completed I spent the day preparing for that evening, and eagerly watching the TV as the scene developed for all the world to see.
I learned there were more planes involved and that our Pentagon had been hit and more lives lost there too. Then it became personal and real as we learned that another plane, which had probably been headed to our capital, had crashed in Pennsylvania. Brave Americans on board that plane had stormed the terrorists and were able to bring the plane down before it reached its’ deadly destination. All lives were lost including a stewardess, Sandy Bradshaw, whom I was honored to know, and lived here in Greensboro, not far from my home.
The questions of: How could this be? Why? What do we do now? all raced through my mind!
But I knew I had to go on and see how I could help others that were gathering as planned for our business event. Prepared as I thought I was, I could not imagine the events that night would bring.
I arrived early and so did everyone else. It was like the people needed a safe place to be with those they cared about. We agreed to have TV coverage on during our event, since there was so much still not known. Our meeting was scaled down to the basics, but it ended up with most of us sharing our true emotions and stories with one another.
Business did get done that night, but also hearts were healed, and many lives were changed! I remember the Mom who was still attempting to get in touch with her Marine son, the daughter whose Dad was a local responder and was heading to the scene, and the sister who had just gotten the news that her brother was involved and was missing, later to learn he gave his life.
I saw people hug one another, pray openly for each other (even at a business setting), and share a time that many of us had never faced before.
This is the day one doesn’t forget. I don’t ever want to. It was a Tuesday, the same as today; but I saw our country rise up in unity, and each of us make a choice to not let this defeat the spirit of love, trust, and faith in our God.
Since that day we have been through a lot. Not everyone is in agreement, but one thing is for certain: we are still here, and live in a free country that has been bought with the blood of our Lord, and others who defend our right to be free! I will never forget, and am more thankful and grateful for what we stand for! How about you?
God Bless America!