I woke up this morning expecting a typical Saturday, which usually means sleeping in (a whole extra 15 minutes!) and chores. My mind swarmed with things I had to do that day – fold the laundry, do the dishes, go to Target, etc. To me, it was just another Saturday. It wasn’t until when I logged into facebook and saw all the status updates that I realized what day it was. I scrolled through all the updates saying “We remember,” “Never forget,” and that’s what I did… I remembered.
For 20 minutes, while I folded laundry in the living room, my husband and I recounted to each other what we were doing on that tragic day nine years ago and how the events of that day had affected us. In September 2001, I was fresh out of grad school and had just started my new job as an ESL teacher in an adult school in Boston. When the planes hit the towers that morning, I was teaching my first morning class. I didn’t find out what had happened until lunchtime, when I went into the lunchroom and saw everyone gathered around the radio. They must have seen the look of confusion on my face because my coworkers soon turned from the radio and started filling me in on what happened. One woman, knowing I was from New York, told me I could use her office if I needed to call my family.
I first called my parents. My mom answered the phone and I could hear the TV in the background. She was watching the actual footage of the crash and trying to describe it to me, but all I wanted to know was whether everyone was okay, especially my brother and brother-in-law, both of whom work in Manhattan. Thankfully they were. I would find out later that my brother had actually seen the whole thing from his office window and that it had taken him hours to get home that day.
I was supposed to teach evening classes that day, but my boss decided to cancel classes and send everyone home early. I didn’t have a TV at home, so my roommates and I tried to get as much information as we could from the radio and the internet. Then that night we went to the prayer meeting. It was at the meeting that I found out about our dear brother Alex, whom I had known from my college days at Rutgers. We prayed with a heavy heart that night… for his family, and for all the saints he had shepherded.
In the following days, there was a barrage of emails from my high school friends, everyone frantically checking to make sure people were okay. I hadn’t talked to some of these friends for years, so it was nice to reconnect and hear that people were safe. One friend emailed from Thailand, another from Australia, and one told the story of how he was supposed to have a job interview in the WTC that morning but had woken up late and missed it. Not everyone from my group of friends had been that lucky, however. Later that week I received an email that one of my high school friends, who worked in the WTC, had been confirmed dead.
It’s hard to believe that nine years have already passed. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones that day. I’m sure they don’t need the exhortation to remember or the reminder to never forget. For them, 9/11 will be a day they can’t forget, as I’m sure they’ve woken up every morning for the past nine years remembering the ones they’ve lost. So I said a quick prayer for them as I finished folding the laundry and continued with my household chores… thankful to have another typical, peaceful Saturday.