A plane just hit one of the twin towers.
I couldn’t imagine what that looked like. I found a picture on Yahoo showing a large hole in the side of one of the towers, but the tower was still standing. There was no evidence of a plane. My computer froze. I walked out to the secretarial pod and learned that nobody could get online. We chatted briefly in casual ignorance.
A second plane just hit the other twin tower.
Though 1200 miles from Ground Zero, the sense of panic was palpable. We gathered in the hall with more questions than answers. I considered if any of my family from New York and Connecticut may have been in or near the Twin Towers that morning.
A plane hit the Pentagon. There was another on the way to the Capitol and the White House.
At this point, we were without television or the internet, and no rumor or thought seemed off the table. We needed to be with our families.
I walked to the parking garage and started my car. I had been listening to Howard Stern that morning, and as the radio came on, Howard described the first tower falling. I still could not visualize what any of this looked like. I raced to the day care and picked up the kids. I reached the house and turned the television on.
Up to this moment, my experience was through a single image of a hole in the side of the tower, verbal reports of planes hitting the buildings and a verbal description of the tower falling. In front of my television, the experience became visual. I watched the planes hit the towers and disintegrate. I saw the towers fall and smoke fill the streets of Manhattan. I saw smoke billow from the Pentagon. I saw ancillary buildings collapse in the ensuing hours. I saw people walking the streets covered in debris, disoriented and lost. I saw police and firefighters move to the front to help in anyway they could. I saw people burning American flags and dancing in the street.
I was afraid and vulnerable for my safety and that of my family.
I was saddened and consumed with putting myself in the shoes of those who had died, and those who loved them without know yet holding out hope that they had survived.
I was angry and vengeful for those that made this attack happen. I wanted blood. I wanted death. I wanted an air strike on those people who danced while burning our flag.
I was proud of my country. On a terrible day, we resolved to help each other. We resolved to survive. We resolved to rebuild. We resolved to be our own heroes.