Remember & Reflect ~ My 9/11

It is the eve of 9/11.

We have been watching 9/11 related programming for most of the evening.

I watched a very interesting show about the air traffic controllers from 9/11 and we just finished watching a show that discussed all the conspiracy theories. I never really thought about those until recently. I’m not sure what I really believe. I’m not going to get into that today.

I just want to remember that day. Reflect a little about my life.

I do remember a lot of it like it was yesterday, as I’m sure most people do.

I was living by myself in Las Vegas, I was going to fly to Pittsburgh in a few days to move my soon-to-be roommate there. We were going to embark on a fun and fabulous  cross country road trip.

I was Assistant Manager at a store in the outlet mall. I got up early that beautiful Tuesday morning to go in and work on a shipment of stock for a few hours before the store opened.  I was in the shower when I heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

I thought it was a joke.

I was listening to one of those comedy pairs that are commonly on in the morning. I can’t remember the station, but I know it was “Trejo and Nikki in the morning.”

I got out of the shower and turned the tv on, just in time to see the second plane hit the other tower.

Unbelievable.

I don’t think there are really words to describe what you felt in that moment. When you realized that it was true. It wasnt just some tv show or movie, this was real life. This was a moment that would change the world forever.

We were watching history unfold right before our eyes.

I got ready for work.  By the time I got to the mall,  the third plane had crashed into the pentagon, and there was talk of another plane over Pittsburgh. That worried me since I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and have lots of family and friends all around the area.

I got into the store and turned on our little black and white tv that we watched during breaks. I think it only got one channel clearly enough to watch. I don’t remember who was working with me that morning. But we couldn’t fathom what we were watching,

One tower collapsed. Then the other.

Unbelievable.

One of the other assistant managers had a daughter who lived in Manhattan. We were worried for her. And hoped that she was okay.

When it was time to open the store, no one wanted to leave the TV. But we had to. It was insanely slow, so we took turns being out front and staying in the back keeping an eye on the news.

We heard that we were the only mall that was actually open in Las Vegas that day. The other malls closed in case there was any other kind of threat to public places. But we were a huge tourist attraction, being the “outlet mall,” it stayed open.

The only people in the mall were foreign tourists. We found it hard to wait on them, we wanted to be at home watching what was happening with our country, which is where I imagine all of the american shoppers were. Dont take that the wrong way at all. I have nothing against anyone foreign, I waited on tourists every single day.  That’s just how we felt in that moment. There were so many emotions, it was all very intense. It was hard to put on a happy face at all, let alone deal with some of the customers we had that day.

Finally word came down from our “powers that be” that we could close. They would have to pay a fine for closing early, but they were willing to do it so we could all go home.

Another aspect of my day, was that one of my good friends from college was supposed to fly from LA to Las Vegas to go to a concert with me that night. It was the band 311 on 9/11. (I think  still have the ticket somewhere.) Needless to say, that once they grounded the flights he wasn’t coming to Vegas. And the concert got cancelled anyway due to the circumstances. And as I mentioned I was supposed to fly to Pittsburgh I think it was on the 12th or the 13th to move my roommate here. That was put on hold.

Once I finally got home, I couldn’t peel myself away from the tv.

It was all so…

Unbelievable.

It was so much to take in. I was all by myself. Well, me and the TV.

I really didn’t want to be alone.

The boy I was dating at the time, was being a jerk. Even though I understand his motivation, it was still pretty jerky. He had this rule that when his daughter was with him, I wasnt allowed to come over. Which I totally get. He and his ex had an agreement. But seriously. There was a major catastrophe in the world and I really didn’t want to be alone. It had been an incredibly dramatic, insanely emotional day. I just wanted come comfort, companionship. But nope.

I stuck it out by myself.

The weirdest things I remember, was the next day. I was driving to work, and to get there from my apartment, I had to drive sort of through the airport. Seeing all the planes parked, all lined up along the road, was incredibly eerie. It was so quiet. It was downright creepy. And the mall was fairly close to the airport, and it being Vegas, there were constantly planes flying overhead. But for those days the flights were grounded there was nothing.

I was finally able to reschedule my flight to Pittsburgh on the 14th of 15th I think. I cant remember exactly, I know it was one of the first few days the planes were flying again. There were only a few people on my flight from Vegas to Chicago.  I chatted a lot with the flight attendant. I remember talking about the outlaw of plastic knives.  Oh, and I made the mistake of buying the time magazine that had some out with pictures from that day.

Not a good idea right before you get on a plane.

I think I opened it once, and realized what I had done and put it back in my bag to be looked at a later date. I’m not sure If ive actually read it since then.

Its funny, I remember so much of that day so clearly. How blue the sky was, so crystal clear. But I couldn’t tell you much about the road trip back from PA other than there is A LOT of corn in Kansas. It was the trip where I coined my “HAY!” joke.  (You see a bale/pile of hay in a field. You yell “HAY!!” the other person freaks out.. “What!!!” and you say “there’s some hay over there”. HAHAHAHA!)  And we spent one night somewhere in Colorado. that’s about all I remember. Funny, huh?

So I think about my life that day. And I look at my life now.

I’ve just realized that I do this every year.

The difference 9 years can make is pretty incredible.

On that day I was a mostly carefree single girl, enjoying life in Las Vegas. Dating a crappy guy.

Four months exactly from that day I would meet the man who would change my life. The love of my life, my soul mate, my hubby.

On that day, having kids was not even something I think I wanted.

Now, I don’t know how I ever lived without them.

On that day, I had a job I liked.

Now, being a stay at home mom is the best job a girl could ask for.

I’m not sure how much the events of that day have impacted the events of my life. I know it drastically impacted the lives of thousands of people who were lost, and who lost the ones they love on that day. My heart goes out to them. I can’t imagine all that the families have endured.

Unbelievable.

I am thankful for my life. For my husband and my two beautiful daughters and even my dog. I am thankful that I have family and friends that I love and love me back.  I am thankful that there are soldiers who fight for our freedom and to keep us safe.

I remember that day. To one day tell my children what it was like to watch history unfold.

Where I was on that fateful day, on my 9/11.

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