The Freedom Tower, September 11, 2011 around 2am
Today is a day marked in history. It started off at 8:30am when my mom called and said she had to tell me something. First she said, "Rebecca's okay." So I thought she'd been in a car accident. She then went on to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I assumed Rebecca was on the flight but then she told me she wasn't. She then went on to tell me that there were all these terrorism acts going on. Four planes had been hijacked. All were American or United Airlines. One crashed into the *west building of the World Trade Center, one the east building, one in some woods in Pittsburgh, and one in the Pentagon in Washington D.C. It's horrible. One flight was from Boston and was headed to LAX and my mom thought if I heard I would be really worried, which is true. I'm so glad she called me. Rebecca had flown to Austin, Texas last night.
I called all my family to let them know I loved them and when I talked to her she was really upset because she was sure she'd know some of the crew. I was nervous for my family because on the radio they said they expected more things to happen. It makes me grateful I'm in Rexburg. Usually terrorists will hit big cities like New York, Chicago, LA; no one's heard of Rexburg, so I think I'm safe! I'm worried for my family. Also, my dad was on a plane at Orange County headed to Ohio, but thank goodness he hadn't left the gate when they heard and evacuated the plane. I wonder when Jason will find out? Rebecca was worried since he's on a mission and we can't call so hopefully he won't worry when he finds out.
When I was listening to the radio today they went live with someone in Jerusalem and I could hear them all chanting, "God is great." They were all celebrating. It makes me sick. They also went live with someone in New York and I could hear sirens and people screaming in the background. It was so eerie.
I've cried a few times today because it makes me sick to think my dad or my sister could have been on one of those flights. I can't imagine the terror they must have felt. I can't imagine if I was a mom and had little kids on the flight. I think I would pray for forgiveness and to die quickly after we crashed.
It was all over campus today. They talked about it at devotional, and we had a special ward prayer tonight and the Bishop spoke to us. I can't imagine how many people are affected because of this. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people were injured or killed, and to think about how many people would be devastated over one person. I can't imagine having someone from my family killed and then having to stay here in Rexburg, not able to get home to my family. Or what if my whole family had been killed? I don't know what I'd do.
It was awesome to hear all the missionaries in New York were accounted for and okay. Twenty one left from the MTC this morning, headed for New York, but landed in Denver, Colorado.
My English teacher's daughter lives two blocks from the World Trade Center. She was okay, but this morning her roommate left for an audition in the WTC, got down out of the elevator, and turned around and went back and said, "I don't think I'll go today." That's so amazing.
On the news they were comparing it to Pearl Harbor, but saying at least with that they knew who they were fighting. I guess some leader from Jerusalem made a threat against the US three weeks ago so he's a suspect. George W. Bush has every intention to "...hunt down and punish..." the terrorists. They said it's the worst attack of terrorism in the US history. And it's also the first time they closed down all air traffic in the US. Tomorrow is USA Pride Day, I'm wearing red, white, and blue.
It's a sad day.
*I clearly didn't have some of the details accurate, as the Twin Towers were the North and South, not east and west.
I can remember so clearly my mom calling and my roommate waking me up to tell me she was on the phone. I remember her telling me what had happened, but I was groggy, and naive in the ways of the world at the age of 18. I didn't realize the seriousness of what had happened and went back to sleep. After I woke up for the day I started listening to the radio (we didn't have tv in the dorm) and I realized this was a big deal. I called my mom back to ask her to tell me again what had happened. Looking back, I realize it still only sunk in so much. I should have noted in my journal entry above that Jason was allowed to call my mom from Mexico to find out my sister was indeed okay.
Even though I've lived in New York for almost five years, I will never understand what it was like to be here. I've talked to so many coworkers who were here on that day and have heard their stories. I wish I could wrap my head around it more, to really know what it was like.
Last night I found myself out in the city with a friend who was in from out of town and wanted to go out. We ended up in a bar in Times Square, filled with cops and firemen. Sometime shortly after midnight someone made a speech in the jam packed bar and then Lee Greenwood's Proud to be an American was played and everyone sang along and toasted to those who'd lost their lives trying to protect us. It was a powerful moment.
Sometime after 1am we headed down to the financial district, as my friend wanted to see if we could get close to the World Trade Center. There was a huge memorial service planned for the day so I didn't anticipate being able to get close, however, there was no issue at all. As usual it was pretty quiet in that neighborhood, but there were people at World Trade, there to pay respects and see what was to be seen, like us. I snapped the above photo of the Freedom Tower. I can't wait to see when it will be finished. Tomorrow the memorial opens to the public, so I'm looking forward to seeing that as well.
Today I am even more grateful to live in a land of freedom. I'm grateful there are so many willing to risk their lives for that freedom. I'm so thankful to feel so safe living in New York by myself as a single female. There are always so many police men out, protecting my safety.
So thankful I could be here in my favorite city in the world on this tenth anniversary of 9/11.