Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years.

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On Monday, September 10th 2001, I was a graduate student just starting out my last year in my Master's Program. That evening, at 6:00, we had taken part in the funniest yoga/feldenkreis class for singers and all of us felt so goofy rolling on the floor of one of the carpeted concert halls. As we walked out of the class with our sneakers and sweats on, we talked of feeling silly. We talked of going to Europe to pursue opera fest contracts. And we talked of what we were going to eat for dinner when we got home. As I walked outside on the streets of Cambridge, I remember the sunset being so stunning. It had a warm, pink and coral glow that just made you feel at peace. I walked a mile and a half home in the warm September light and I was greeted at home by my adorable little two year old ginger cat at my little one bedroom apartment where I felt so safe. I made dinner, poured a cocktail and watched some Seinfeld reruns on Fox and tucked myself in. I had everything. I felt so at peace in my little place, with my little cat, in my little world.

The morning came. I scrambled to take a shower and prepare for the first day of my Graduate Research class, which was going to start at 10:00am. I turned on some music while I got ready and skipped around my kitchen while I made my coffee and fed the cat. I had been watching the Young and the Restless since I was 9 because my mom watched it too. It was one thing we really could share together even though it was a cheesy soap opera. I had to program my VCR every day to record it so I could watch it later that evening and gossip with my mom about it. My mom is a military physician. She's an amazing lady, because along with being a doctor, she's a full colonel in the Army and sometimes has business to take care of at the Pentagon. She's my hero, since she still has to be a strong individual to hold her ground in a boy's club, she's still my sweet, funny and witty mom.

I almost forgot to program the VCR before I left! I was busy pressing the buttons to make sure I was going to be all set before my mile and a half trek to school. I just wanted to switch on the TV to make sure that the channel was right and all the settings were correct (I had been careless before and recorded some snow instead of my show!). When I switched on the TV it was still on Fox from the night before. I saw an image of the Twin Towers, both of them with holes in them and smoke billowing out of the holes. Then it switched to an image of one of the planes crashing into the towers in slow motion. The size of the Towers had dwarfed the size of the plane. It looked as though it were a tiny prop plane, flown by an individual. The gravity of the situation was was not evident to me. I though to myself: "Terrorist attack.". I couldn't believe what I saw, but I had to go. I grabbed my Walkman (sign of the times) and turned on NPR as I walked to school, horrified by what I had seen. The batteries were running low, so I stopped into a local drugstore to grab some more so that I could stay updated on the way to school. I walked up to the counter and told the woman who was ringing me up; "Do you know what happened?!"

She looked at me confused. "A plane just flew into the World Trade Center in New York City!!"

The woman seemed to not believe me. I think she thought I was crazed. She took my cash, gave me some change and continued on her day. Who can blame her? Who would believe something so horrific and random? As I walked to school, the news kept getting more and more awful. Then came the news that scared me the most of all. There was some sort of "fire" at the Pentagon. The same Pentagon that my mom frequented through her workweek. Things seemed to be happening ALL over and they seemed to keep happening. We had started class, but with a radio going in the background. I could not pay attention to anything that was being said by the professor. All I could think about was the Pentagon and my mom.  Eventually, after about 20 minutes of trying to have class, it was decided that classes would be canceled for the day as more and more devastating events were happening. By this time, The South and The North Tower had already collapsed. I started to walk the mile and a half home. The first thing I did was try to call my parents in Washington. Busy signal. I heard a busy signal for the next few hours. When I got home, my landlady was in my apartment. She didn't have a TV, but she knew I did. We watched in horror as the coverage continued. I finally got a phone call and I heard my mother's sweet voice on the line. She was home that day. I was so very grateful to receive that phone call.

There were tens of thousands of relatives and friends who were not as lucky enough to receive the same relieving phone call. Nearly 3000 people lost their lives that day, including 125 at the Pentagon. 55 of those were military personnel. Maybe my view is colored by being a child of two military parents, but I know that even though our Country is far from perfect, it's still our Country. We should never forget that we were united that day in sorrow, but must continue to be united in times of peace.

So, ten years have passed. I will never forget the feeling of comfort I had on that sweet Monday evening and the feeling of fear and horror that wiped away that feeling on that horrible Tuesday morning. But I will also never forget the bravery of our first responders who gave their lives to save others, the passengers who stood up for freedom in the face of certain death and the strength of the people in the face of an unknown threat. Never forget.



  1. Kay! Sorry to write this on this nostalgic post, but I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your part in the radio show and think you rock for hosting it! It was lovely hearing your voice and listening to your genuine reflections on what is personal style and the beauty that Anthro brings! You've got a fan here!!

  2. Dea! You are so sweet!! Thank you so much! You totally made my day!!! :)