I remember the exact color of the sky; what I wore; where I was with each stage of that horrible day.
I was on my way to New York, somewhat ironically for a funeral. My uncle died on 9/9. My grandpa-in-law drove me to the airport and we were listening to KMOX when the first plane hit. Like many, we assumed it was a small plane; an accident.
When I arrived at the airport, the ticket area was empty. I was told my flight was delayed. I was still oblivious. In the terminal, everything changed. Televisions at the gates were turned off, to reduce panic. The one TV that was on was in a bar. It was filled to capacity. I stared as I walked by. People were crying.
My stomach clenched in fear as police officers with German shepherds ran through the terminal.
I reached my gate and the attendant told me she just didn’t know what to do. I sat at the gate and waited to learn more. And then my father called.
Since my uncle had died, it was the first time in my adult life that all of my family was traveling on the same day. My parents had arrived in New York, my oldest sister was in the air and my middle sister was on her way to the airport.
I answered my cell phone and my father, in a voice he hadn’t used with me since I was 12 and done something really awful said, “You are not under any circumstances to get on an airplane today.” That frightened me, and snapped me awake to the reality that something was horribly wrong.
Then my husband called to tell me that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Finally I understood that we were under attack. I still had not seen a television.
In the days that followed, (I never made it to New York. My sisters and I missed my uncle’s funeral. My middle sister returned home and my oldest sister was diverted to Baltimore where she was stuck for a few days, then rented a car to drive home to Florida) I remember the silence of the skies. I remember overdosing on the tragedy, crying frequently and finally, having to stop watching, to move on.
But I remember. I will always remember.