I had spent the weekend in Billings, MT to see my first nephew who had just been born. My mom and I drove back to Salt Lake on Sept. 10th and I was to fly out that evening. There was a problem with that flight, and so I spent an hour at the airport trying to figure out how I was going to get back to Sacramento to my family. Flying out the next morning on American Airlines to LA or United Airlines to San Francisco and then taking a small plane to Sacramento were options floating around. At the last minute (and I mean LAST) they found a spot on a flight to Vegas and then a connecting flight to Sacramento. I literally ran through the airport to catch that flight. I threw my carry on and purse on the x-ray machine and then ran to the gate while my parents waited for my bags. I made that flight and landed in Sacramento just after midnight, Sept. 11th. Jason picked me up and we went to bed very, very late.
The next morning, Jason jumped out of bed (he had heard something on his alarm/radio that caused a jump out of bed instead of the normal, slap the snooze) and I laid there hoping that the girls would sleep in so that I could sleep in. Jason went downstairs and then yelled for me to come. I got out of bed thinking, "this had better be good buddy, because you probably just woke up the kids by yelling". I walked down the stairs and was confused because he was standing, frozen, in the middle of the living room, watching TV with the remote still in his hand. I asked what was going on and he had to tell me a few times because my brain could not wrap around what he was saying. We both stood there watching it replay over and over again. Then, we hear from our innocent little four year old coming down the stairs, "what is that?" (on TV) And I slowly turned and looked at little Jessica with her eyes wide, watching a plane fly into a building. We turned off the TV and gave an explanation... How we explained, I don't remember. How do you explain something that terrible? How do you explain that things will never be the same?
I was still glued to the TV, but not with Jessica and Alyssa in the room. We tried to keep them away from the details.
I tried donating blood that night, but the lines were long, and they had started a list to donate at a later date. I was finally called five months later. (That's how long the list was...)
I bought a red white and blue ribbon to tie to the antennae of my car a few days later.
The following week, one of my neighbors organized a little march . Very little. There were probably only about six families, but we walked around the neighborhood with flags and "patriotic" music.
Another neighbor hung a big sheet on his garage that everyone could sign. Once it was filled, it was sent to New York.
It was actually a blessing to move to Montana a year later. I couldn't begin my day without turning on the TV to see if "something else had happened". If I heard a crop duster, I froze. I didn't even enjoy going into San Francisco anymore because I was afraid. Moving to Montana helped me release the panic feeling I harbored.
I use to LOVE flying in big jets. I now have a lot of anxiety. We almost didn't go to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake because I was afraid of what might happen during the games. (Thank goodness I didn't let fear get in the way of that!!)
I don't hold a candlelight vigil anymore on Sept. 11th (like I did for a few years), but I still remember.
I still remember.