Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

I was working the graveyard shift at the hospital that morning. It wasn’t going to be long before I got off work, about 7am. I was anticipating getting out of there and going home to get some sleep. My relief had walked in and she was getting some breakfast before she came on shift. While I was waiting around this middle aged black gentlemen comes up and tells me about a plane that crashed into a building. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Planes crash all the time and this one just happened to crash into a building. I wonder why that happened. Did the pilot not see where he was going? I brushed it off as a freak accident and paid little attention to the man. He left to the main lobby of the hospital to view the news on the big screen television while I continued to wait for the clock to hit 7am.He then came rushing back to spread the news that another plane had hit the other World Trade Center. What? I thought. What the heck? That’s when I left my office, clocked out, and went to see the big screen in the main lobby. There it was, clouds of smoke rising from both towers of the WTC. That’s when I immediately realized it was no accident. This was a terrorist attack. Oh man, this is bad I thought. I went to tell my relief about the incident before I left home. Instead of going home I decided to go to my Mom’s house to tell her about the news. This was bad and I wanted to see if she was watching the morning news. I knew she would barely be waking up so she wouldn’t know about it until she either turned on the television or someone told her.

While driving home I listened to the news-talk radio. All plane crashes in New York were the talk of the radio. I listened as reporters described the event and try to piece together any clues as to why this had happened. I got to my Mom’s house early in the morning when they were barely getting up. My wife was at work at the time and there was no way for me to call her. When my Mom answered the door I made my way in and turned on the television. My Dad was already making breakfast but hadn’t turned on the television or radio. There were stood and watched as the twin towers of the World Trade Center topped off in smoke. The news showed people waving from the upper floors of the buildings and some jumping. People were screaming everywhere and it seemed like mass hysteria.

I called my buddy in Mesa to tell him about the news. He answered the phone and said that he was about to call me. He was watching it on television too. “Who do you think did this?” He said. “I think it was the Palestinians,” I said. That was my first guess at the time. I figured it was either the Palestinians or terrorists from Palestine. They have no love for the USA so it wouldn’t surprise me.Then came the news of another plane crash into the Pentagon. Oh yeah, we’re under attack, I thought. The news on the third plane crash was new and the information was barely coming in. The news wasn’t accurate and a little vague but they started showing live feeds of the Pentagon on fire. My parents, siblings, and myself continued to watch as reports of another plane crashed in Pennsylvania. The news reported that it crashed into a field. What the heck is going on, I thought again.

We watched as the twin towers were engulfed in fire and smoke. Then the unthinkable happened. One of the twin towers began to collapse. Oh no! This can’t be, I thought. I couldn’t believe a monumental building like that could be collapsing from a fire. I assumed that there were still people inside while it was falling. I knew it would be too late for some of them. That’s when the grief and rage began to hit me. My parents and me were all in shock. We couldn’t believe what was happening. The skyline covered in gray ash and smoke and nothing seemed visible. The news anchors and newscasters seemed to be as shocked as we were. They described the events exactly the way they unfolded.

We were all in shock when suddenly the second tower began to collapse. That’s when I realized that the New York City skyline would be forever changed. My grief was overcome with anger and rage. Whoever did this would pay for what they’ve done. I left my parents and drove home afterwards. When I got home I went into a chat room and began chatting with all sorts of people that spoke of hate, grief, rage, and assumptions. I wanted to get a feel and communicate with others about the situation. I also had to get some rest since it was already past noon at the time. I knew I would only get a few nights sleep before having to go back to work at night.

There was another sense that overcame me besides the grief and rage I felt at the time. It was something I’ve never felt before in my life. It was a powerful feeling and it just occurred as if I had just woken up from a sleep. Suddenly I started seeing colors in my head, red, white, and blue. It was a feeling of unity. Where did this come from? What the heck is this? A sense of patriotism overcame me. I’ve never felt this way before.The next day I noticed flags popping up everywhere. As the days went by we were all in grief but there was also a sense of unity and patriotism. I took part by displaying Old Glory on the corner of my garage and a newspaper photo of the flag on my window. On the newspaper insert is said, “United We Stand.” I think it was true. For once, we all seemed to put our differences aside and come together. Flags were flying from cars, hanging from freeway overpasses, and waving from everywhere. I’ve never seen Phoenix that way in my life. Although all the events occurred on the east coast we still felt the pain. Out of all the pain and terror came something good, patriotism, unity, and faith. Suddenly the words where heard and said everywhere, “God Bless America.”


Blogger Rico said...

Sgt. Pete:

George Orwell put it best: "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us."
Thank you for standing ready in the night for the likes of me and mine.
I posted your 9/11 remembrance on my blog, with all honor due.


9/11/2006 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9/11/2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger kbug said...

I too remember that day...and the days that followed. It was one of the worst times and best times for our nation. Worst because of the loss of lives and because of the patriotic feelings it evoked in so many. Why does it always seem to take a disaster to bring people together??

9/11/2006 8:58 PM  

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