Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Adding my voice to the thousands who are remembering today…

I remember where I was when the Challenger and Columbia exploded. I remember watching the horse-drawn cart carry John F. Kennedy’s coffin down Pennsylvania Avenue, although I was only four and a half years old. I remember when man walked on the moon. And I remember where I was on September 11, 2001.

I was in North Idaho, getting ready for work. I had only been working at North Idaho College for a few weeks; my then-husband had already left for work at our cabinet-making business. I woke and hit the shower, then turned on the radio around and wondered why the normally lighthearted morning DJs sounded so somber. I listened as I dressed, and within minutes found out what was happening – and turned on the television in time to see the second tower fall.

I watched as long as I could then dashed to work, where I found a streaming news channel on my computer, and watched it all day. No one could work. Someone turned on the television in the conference room next door, and we spent the day wandering back and forth from our offices to watch the coverage.

I called my husband, but he didn’t answer his phone. Later that day when he finally did call he was impatient with me for wasting his work time over something trivial (obviously he wasn’t listening to what I was saying). Once he got to the bar and finally saw a television he realized what I had been trying to tell him, and was devastated that he hadn’t known earlier.

I called my sister as soon as I got to work. She lives in NH and I knew she was fine, but I just needed to hear her voice. And my aunt’s. Over the next day or two I touched bases with all of my family and close friends, to let them know I was thinking of them. It was a time that you wanted to reach out and let people know that you loved them.

The president of the college was stuck in Boise, nine hours away. It was a couple of days before he could make his way home.

My ex and I had travel plans for September 25, and were a little nervous about it – but not enough to cancel our trip. We arrived at the airport early, wondering what changes we’d find. The Spokane airport was still working on their new security measures – I remember a folding table at the entrance to the concourse manned by an armed guard.

Everything changed on that day. And continues to change. I dress differently when I fly. I arrive at the airport earlier to get through security. I wonder what item of clothing they’re going to have us remove next. I can’t leave my luggage unattended, can’t meet friends at the gate, can’t bring liquids on the plane. Young men and women are dying in wars on foreign soil. People are more suspicious, more cautious, less trusting. The world has changed so much, and will continue to do so, as the result of the events of that day. On September 11, 2001, we experienced what the rest of the world already knew. Fear.

Anyway, I was reminded of this song yesterday – it’s not one that’s played very often. But I’m sure you’ll hear it a lot today.

Remembering everyone whose life was changed on that day. And those who lost theirs.

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