Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Anniversary of September 11th Terrorist Attack

In honor of today.... I am re-posting my thoughts from last years post.

Today I was looking at my calendar and noticed that this Friday is the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the US. The most horrific attack on the US some say since Pearl Harbor.
Do you remember where you were that day? I do, I was on the job at First Baptist Church, Norfolk VA as the Minister of Childhood Development. (If you aren't familiar with Norfolk click the word and it will take you to their city webpage) Anyway, I was at work in a town that boasts the worlds largest Naval base so you can imagine what happened as a result of the attacks and the fact that we were located just 3 hrs away from Washington, DC.

You got it, the city went into red alert full lock-down. (A full lock-down means that people must stay where they are and may not exit or enter a classroom, apartment unit, store unit, an office space, condo unit or to enter or exit the building.)The tunnels were shut down (Norfolk is a water town and connects to other cities via tunnels that go under the water and when we are on red alert these tunnels which connect the city to the Naval base and the other surrounding cities shut . I should also mention there are bridges too that also get shut down but there are several tunnels as well which are worse to turn people around in.)People were stuck on the highways taking forever to be re-routed so they could go home.

We had a full time Weekday preschool in session that day that was for babies through Kindergarten and were instructed to go into full lock-down as well. Once again a reminder that this means that no one can come onto the campus or go off. This also means that until you get the all clear you are stuck. Now this poses a problem for babies and toddlers if you don't have formula or juice that they drink not to mention extra food. It was crazy to say the least. Our Weekday Director Terry and her fabulous teaching crew got really creative taking care of those kiddoes. But all got fed, diapered, and taken care of that day. Teachers were troopers pulling out the stops on all their creative teaching methods keeping children calm when they began to notice that school was taking longer that day and no parents were arriving.

For us in the office we were glued to the TV set in our Senior Associate Pastor's Office. (Sorry Ralph ) I remember being horrified at the images and feeling it was all a bit surreal. Something out of a movie not somewhere just a few hundred miles up the road (the Pentagon) or somewhere our staff had gone for staff retreat the year before (New York City).

When I arrived at FBCN the Fall of 2000 I met and talked with Sailors and their families in our church who had survived the attack on the USS Cole one of the Naval Ships bombed in the Yemeni port of Aden. So my awareness of  the worlds opinions of the US, their threats and actions as well as their hatred of her jumped through the roof. But after that day I became even more aware of ships going out remembering even more to pray for them and their families and an awareness of the colors Yellow Orange and Red not as colors of crayons or even ozone alerts but as threat alert colors...we stayed in the Red zone for quite a while after 9/11. I remember being relieved when we went down to Orange. So were my parents who were lived here in Texas at the time and my Grandparents who were only 45 minutes away from me in eastern NC. They wanted to come and pack me up then and there to come to their houses. Too funny.

I admit I did things differently after that day. I was more aware... of things around me. I didn't wait to thank people, talk with friends and especially my family. I cherished the time that we tend to think we have tons of. I saw the world around me differently. That Fall that year in the Tidewater area was the most beautiful that I remember ever seeing anywhere. Leaves were vibrant colors, air was crisper, the ocean was bluer, spray rose higher and it all pulled me in. Now I know that it wasn't that vastly different than previous seasons except maybe the leaf colors but I had more of an appreciation. But notice I used past tense words. I have gotten comfortable again. Its been 8 years and here I am again getting back into that rut of Scarlet O'Hara's: "I'll think about that tomorrow." So its time to buck up and remember and go back to that mindset of not putting off til tomorrow.

So do you remember where you were 9/11/2001? Many of my friends here in North Texas probably remember the Oklahoma City Bombing more vividly since we aren't far from there and many of them have family there. But I think most people remember that day. Were you stuck in an airport, school or store?


Amy M. Fry said...

I too, have been thinking of 8 years ago come Friday 9/11. I saw the 2nd plane hit while @ home with Richard. Though in shock, I dutifully drove 50 miles to a government building (Agriculture) for a meeting.
While on the drive, the other two planes hit and when I got to my destination, a large group of people were in the lounge, silent, watching the horror on television. In my inane meeting, they just went on like absolutely nothing had happened, arguing about things that aren't settled to this very day. I went in and told them what was going on and their collective response was, "well, there's nothing we can do about it so...". I was almost as horrified by their blase' attitude as I was by what was happening to my country. I returned to the lounge and held hands and cried with my friend from that Ag. office. It seemed that only those of us in there realized what this could possibly mean for our country. I have tears here again as I remember.
I will proudly fly my flag on Friday, and I will proudly wear my "Never Forget" shirt that I wear every year on 9/11.
Thank you Sherry. Great 'Ramble'

dancing queen said...

Oh, I remember that day very clearly - all so strange. I had been visiting your volunteers at FBC Norfolk for a Sunday School conference that weekend. Actually, I boarded a plane in Norfolk early in the AM on 9/11/01 and was flying back to Texas - I had a seminary class that morning and was concerned about getting there in time. As soon as we landed and walked through the airport, it all seemed a little strange. But when I got on the bus to go to the parking lot, the lady told me what had happened and that the airport was being shut down. While in my car and listened to the news reports, it was all so unbelievable.

Whenever I'm reminded of that day I am grateful for God allowing me to get home that day - otherwise I would have stayed in Norfolk for many more days in 'lock-down' mode.

It's been a long time since we've talked. Hope things are going well for you!
Susan Ripley

Sherry said...

Susan!!! So good to hear from you. And oh my goodness I had forgotten about that. How could I forget you had come in to do a leader training for me and all that happened after? Did you have a straight flight to Houston? I don't remember...
But you are right, so thankful you made it home safely without getting stuck in Norfolk although it was fun having you..

dancing queen said...

Sherry - Things were such a blur for everyone at that time. I can't even imagine what it was like to be in your city during that time.

It is quite strange when someone is talking about 9/11 and what they were doing when they heard the news. And my response is, "I was on an airplane that morning" and they think I'm lying - but it was an extremely early flight and we did have some issues with the cab driver and really thought we weren't going to make it to the airport in time. If we hadn't----then yes, I would have been in your town for a little while longer.

I've thought back to that plane ride many times and tried to determine what the pilot said to us while we in the air. I try not to think about the 'what ifs' like - if they had chosen a different plane or what would I have done or said in that moment.

It is good to hear from you through your blog. How long have you been back in Texas? I'm still at Grand Parkway in Sugar Land. Look me up in you are ever in the Houston area! Susan