I was making pancakes.
My then four-year-old son Adam was the only one of my kids awake, and we stood at the stove (he in a chair next to me). My husband stood in the living room, catching the last few minutes of news before he headed off to work. Suddenly he called to me:
"Shannon, come here! A plane flew into the World Trade Center!"
I ran into the living room and watched with him in shock. What a terrible accident, I thought. "I wonder how a pilot could make a mistake like that on such a clear day?" my husband wondered. We shook our heads sadly.
He left for work, and Adam and I resumed our pancake-making, though now I turned on the tiny black-and-white TV I kept atop my refrigerator for watching the morning news. I listened to the newscasters share my sadness and concern at such a horrible accident. Because it had to be an accident. It had to be.
A few minutes later, as Adam ate, I called my dad to make sure he had heard about it; he didn’t have access to a TV at his office, and I figured he was unaware that this had taken place. As we talked, I happened to glance up at the TV just in time to see, live, what looked like another plane hitting the building. My jaw dropped and I stammered into the phone.
"Wha…Dad…what in the…I think…a plane….I just…I’ll call you right back."
I hung up, turned up the news, and I realized the awful truth: this wasn’t an accident.
I immediately called my Dad back: "Get to a TV," I told him, and I called my husband, who hadn’t even finished his commute. Oh, how I needed to hear his voice.
Like the rest of the world, I spent the rest of the morning glued to the television. As my other children awakened, I kept Veggie Tales videos going in the back bedroom, trying to keep them away from the horror I couldn’t stop watching in the living room. Most of that day is a blur to me, though a few stark moments stand out…
…feeling my first real panic when the third plane hit the Pentagon. "The sky is falling," I thought to myself.
…standing in front of the television at the moment the first tower fell. I literally reached out my hands to the TV in a nonsensical effort to stop it from falling.
…sitting in the nursery with then four-month-old Joseph, rocking him, nursing him, and weeping.
…embracing my husband when he came home that day, thinking with horror of the wives that would not be able to welcome their husbands home.
And I remember, in all the horror, was the way our nation pulled together. The flags flying from cars and homes and offices and schools. Politicians joining hands in song and prayer. Americans standing with each other. I don’t miss the horror of those days, but I miss the unity.
As the 5th anniversary approaches, my prayers are with those who lost family members that awful day.
If you’re sharing your own 9/11 memories on your blog, please leave your link below. Feel free to set up a Mr. Linky at your own site as well. If you don’t have a blog, you’re welcome to leave your memories in my comment section.