I was at work. We heard a few things about a plane hitting the World Trade Center in NYC and thought it was a stunt plane. Then we heard that another plane hit the other tower and knew something bad was happening.
I talked to my dad on the phone a few times; he was retired and at home watching the news. We couldn't get on any news websites because they were all down due to overwhelming traffic. I knew very little - only enough to be scared.
I went out at lunch to pick up a sandwich (Quarter Pounder with Cheese, if you must know) and still remember the piercing clear blue sky. My friend Patrick was living in DC at the time and I worried for him.
My clearest memories of that day begin in the later afternoon when I left work and returned to my apartment. That's when I first saw the images of the day. I sat on the phone for so long with Kristina, talking and crying and fearing. Looking out the big window in my living room, there were no planes in the sky but I was convinced that one would probably crash into my building.
Kristina died three months later. The first time I entered an airport or boarded a plane was for her funeral. Her death and that sadness is weirdly woven into my memories of September 11th.
As I drove to the farmer's market this morning, I reflected on the meaning of this anniversary. Today I am not astounded by how much my life has changed since September 11, 2001; rather, I am amazed at how much has not changed. This can only be attributed to the people who protect our freedom, at home and abroad.
We will never forget.
"Thoughts that do often lie to deep for tears." - William Wordsworth