What I remember most about 9/11 is a feeling of utter shock and helplessness - not that I was helpless, but that I was in Arkansas, far from those who needed help and there was nothing I could do about it. So, I prayed. I wondered if more attacks were coming. I watched reports (accruate and not) of events unfolding, of amazing survival stories, and of loss.
But, what I remember the most comes after I got home. I specifically remember going outside on my deck and looking up. The skies were a beautiful blue and not a single cloud in the sky. Because all planes had been grounded, no airtrails cut through the skies. And, everything was quiet. It was eerie - no birds were chirping, no cows were calling out, no dogs barking. Except for the television playing in the house behind me, I was in complete silence. I don't even remember any vehicles driving down our dirt road.
On September 11, 2001, our youngest, Emily, wasn't even anywhere in our lives yet - not even in the very earliest stages of creation and development yet.
I remember watching the news the whole time. Were there going to be other attacks? How many were killed? Why were the hospitals still basically empty? Would anyone ever go show up there? News of gasoline price gouging were rampant. People were flooding supermarkets and superstores. Other people were already getting in their vehicles, heading to try and help in whatever way they could. And, people were starting to put American flags on their flag poles, cars, shirts, caps, anywhere and everywhere. Yes, even on the first day, video appeared on TV and online of the American spirit coming back into light.
So much has changed in ten years. And, so much hasn't. What will things look like at the 20th Commemoration of 9/11? Will we still remember? How long until we have mainstream video games about this day (like we have WWII, Vietnam, and anonymous terrorist-related games now)? Will my grandchildren see 9/11 in the same "vague historical recollection" manner in which many people view Pearl Harbor today? Will there be another attack on American soil before the next 10-year memorial? Only time will show what is to come.
In the meantime, we stand and we remember. We honor those who were taken from us, who went UP the stairs to find others to send down, who ran IN while others ran out, and who would not go down in a plane without a fight. I am proud to be an American, always.