Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011: Remembering Those We Lost

Pin It Now! As I head out to church this morning, I am forced to remember with a heavy heart all those we lost today, only one short decade ago. I've heard it said that we will always remember where we were when we heard the news. I think that is true. I heard it abruptly; it was my first semester at the University of Idaho in Moscow, living on my own in a town distant from both my parents, my fiance and my support system when my clock radio went off alerting me to begin my day of classes. Instead of the rock music I was accustomed to, I heard my favorite DJ nearly screaming in hysteria that the airplane hit. The world just changed, he said. Terror had come home. To our soil. But for his complete panic, clearly evident in his voice, I would have thought it a joke as many others did.

I called my Dad, but he didn't know any more than I did. He told me to be careful - Moscow was an unlikely target, but be careful anyway. I love you. And go on about your day.

I called my fiance - he didn't know more, but he said it was bad. He would drive down to see me soon. It would be OK.

Not realizing the full extent of the situation, I headed to class. Some students got the unspoken memo and didn't even show, sure classes would be cancelled. Only half my fellow students were there, and no instructors. Many had just rolled out of bed - some still hungover - and hadn't heard the news. As we talked, one girl broke down into hysterics; her mother had flown east for a business meeting at the WTC. We assured her that she would be OK - only one was hit, not both. And they were strong buildings. I hugged her, proffering assurances that I only hoped sounded good. As she calmed down a freshman ran through the halls, shrieking at the top of his lungs that a second plane had hit the WTC. She broke down completely.

We banded together, about 40 of us - just confused students not knowing what to do. We headed for the Student Union Building in hope of finding guidance, stopping off at the small campus "hospital" on the way to drop off those who couldn't go on. The staff there was in panic mode - triage in full swing. They could only take those with a personal connection to the WTC - everyone else go home. They didn't know if we were expected to be in class or not.

At the SUB, a memorial was already started. Someone found a huge cardboard box and a package of Sharpies, and people were writing thoughts on the box. College staff said we should all go home. We knew by then about the other planes.

I later discovered that my classmate's mother died when the second plane hit the floor she was on. As far as I know, they still have not recovered her body.

When I think of 9/11, I think of her. I don't even remember her name, but long after her mascara washed off my jacket, I remember her. I remember where I was when the towers fell. I remember 9/11.

May God bless and keep you.

Elin K.

1 comment:

  1. What a poignant story, Elin! I was in my classroom waiting for school to begin, with the TV tuned to the Today show. The news spread quickly throughout the building. The students were subdued and hushed, their innocence lost. Along with the day when President Kennedy was assassinated, this is one day which I will never forget.


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