Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11–“The Unthinkable Has Happened!”

WTC-Wreckage-exterior_shell_of_south_tower - Public Domain
World Trade Center Wreckage
Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain

At the Pentagon after Attack - US Navy Took Photo - Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons
Flag at Pentagon on September 12, 2001
Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain

“The unthinkable has happened!” Those are the words I wrote as I began writing about 9/11 in my journal. I can’t believe it’s really been eleven years now since it happened. Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers suggested we write a post recalling our memories of that horrific day.

I live on the West Coast. I was awake when 9/11 happened, getting ready for the day. FoxNews was on our TV. An alert came on saying a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We thought it was just a terrible accident. But then the next plane crashed into the other tower. My husband saw it happen live on TV. Then we knew it was no accident. We were being attacked. We watched this all unfold as if mesmerized. I wrote in my journal that I felt like I was in a nightmare. I was in shock. I went through the motions of getting the kids to school but was gripped with fear of what had just happened.

Our five kids ranged in age back then from high school age down to elementary school. I remember taking my youngest kids to elementary school and as we were waiting out on the playground for the bell to ring, a strange and foreign thought ran through my mind. The vague thought of concern about planes that were in our skies that morning. We live not too far from an Air National Guard station.  Also our city airport isn't too far away. I really wasn't too concerned about our little corner of the world, but still.

After coming home from taking the kids to school, I was of course glued to the television, watching the horrific and unbelievable events of the day taking place.

Then there was the void of airplanes in the sky in the coming days. That was very eerie.

Because we live close to an Air National Guard Fighter Wing, those planes kept flying, but no commercial planes were in the air. One of my sons, who was in elementary school at the time, woke up at 4:00 am on Wednesday morning. He woke me up and said he heard an airplane - he was scared. I told him that it was the military—that it was one of ours. I wrote in my journal, “Isn’t that pathetic that I would have to say those words to one of my children?”

Our world has changed since 9/11. Our sense of security has changed as well. We had the attack at Pearl Harbor, but that was a generation or two ago. Now our generation has it’s own attack on U.S. soil to remember.

I hope that we will always remember 9/11 and those who perished that day, as well as those who risked their lives trying to save others.

And I hope we remember those in the military, some who have made the ultimate sacrifice, who willingly serve so that we can enjoy freedom and safety.

Thanks for reading.


© 2012 Copyright by Jana Last


  1. Jana, I'm glad you took up Thomas MacEntee's prompt to write about 9-11 today. It is such a horrible but necessary remembrance.

    It's interesting to note that people who lived through that day remember in great detail exactly what their day was like. I was in quite the same circumstances as you that day--living on the West Coast, where time differences affected how many caught the original news coverages.

    As you did, I had an elementary-school aged child at the time. For us, it happened to be a travel day, as we were about to head south for a business conference (driving, thankfully).

    It was eery being hypersensitized to the skies above and planes in particular...wanting to hear more on the news as we drove south, but realizing how differently this news impacted younger ears. My daughter and I actually took the time to go to a book store and find the story of Anne Frank--something, anything that a young girl could relate to in a time like this...and had long talks about a subject that, we used to think, was way beyond her years.

    It was a day of fretting over no news about my brother-in-law, whose business dealings often led him to meetings in the building next to that day's target--and often in one of those two buildings, themselves. Thankfully, that day he was several blocks away and unharmed, though glad to be back out of the city as was every commuter who took the opportunity as soon as possible to leave. For many, that was not the case.

    I know life will never be the same for us as a nation--and especially for those who lost loved ones at those locations in NYC, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

    It is often said that time heals. At least the distance in years allows us a different perspective on reflecting about what that date means for our collective future. Hopefully, what others meant for evil may somehow be turned for the good.

    1. Hi Jacqi, I'm so glad your brother-in-law was safe! How scary for you and your family!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  2. I live in Chesapeake, one of the 7 big cities making up Hampton Roads, home of one of our country's major Naval Bases and shipyards. We thought for sure we could be the next target. I couldn't NOT watch the tv for days. The families with posters featuring pictures of a loved one amazed me with their confidence that their brother/sister/father/husband/cousin would certainly survive. The wives of those men who orchestrated the counter-attack on the plane in Pennsylvania were so brave and inspiring. I can't imagine being on the phone with someone who knew that in minutes they were going to die. In those days following the attack, I kept thinking, "What would I do?" I'm pretty sure I would have been no one's hero.

    1. Hi Wendy, Wow! That must have been really frightening for you guys over there in Chesapeake that day! Yes, all those posters and pictures plastered everywhere was so sad to see. So many people and families affected.

      I also can't imagine how those wives and loved ones on the plane in Pennsylvania were able to handle that situation. I'm not sure what I would have done either.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  3. Thank you for sharing your memories of that day, Jana. I have been grateful for the bloggers who have done so. I was in Washington, D.C. that day and, to be honest, 11 years later, I'm not sure I'm finished processing what my thoughts were that morning ... mostly confusion, I'd say. It was interesting to read about your experiences.

    1. Hi ljhlaura,

      Wow! You were in Washington, D.C. on that terrible day! I'm not surprised you may not have fully finished processing what your thoughts were that morning. That must have been so extremely frightening for you and the others who were there so close to where those terrible events were taking place. It was scary enough for those of us on the other side of the country.

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. I really appreciate it.




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