September 11, 2001
I was working as an administrative assistant in a high-end hair salon in the city of Atlanta. We'd just had our morning coffee, and the customers were all coming in for their appointments when someone said a plane hit the World Trade Center. The first thing that went through my mind was that some idiot in a small plane had somehow navigated themselves into the building. It had happened before. Tragic, but comparatively insignificant to what really happened.
It wasn’t until the second plane hit that we realized that this was no unfortunate accident. This was our generation’s Pearl Harbor.
The circuits everywhere were busy, so we couldn’t call anyone to find out what was happening across the country, but the information we were getting was vast and exaggerated beyond even the horror that was the truth. The reality was...in addition to the two jets that hit the towers, there were other jets hijacked, and even Washington had been hit. We could only wonder...where else was under attack? People were saying we were at war. In wild exaggerations, we were told the Capital building had been hit, and even the White House.
And it wasn’t just New York and Washington at risk. Atlanta was the home of the Center for Disease Control and it was suggested the CDC may be a target. My children were in school across town. I wanted desperately to go to them. If Atlanta was a target, I was unsure if they would be safe where they were.
And then the first tower fell.
It was worse than anything we were being told. The one television in our building was surrounded by people trying to figure out what was going on. The only thing we knew for sure was that nothing would ever be the same again.
More than a decade later, nothing will ever be the same again. But one thing is certain…those of us who survived that day will never forget. We will never forget those lost in the attacks on our country. And we will never forget the sacrifices made by the countless individuals who fought to keep us safe.
Until the next time...I'll be giving thanks.