I sit here with my personal reflections of that tragic day in U.S. history. My heart races, my eyes fill with tears and I feel hollow from all the senseless, tragic loss.
My children are now at the age they are asking questions about 9/11. It is a difficult discussion for me to have with them.
How do you explain hatred? Senseless tragedy and death?
I explained it to them as openly and honestly as I could. I don't want them to be scared of terrorism. I don't want them to fear living in the land of the free. I want them to know this is truly the land of the brave.
We became a stronger country after what we went through 10 years ago. We may have our struggles but we will not quit and never give up. We are fighters and will continue to do so.
I shared some of my memories of that fateful day. I will share them with you.
I was living in Lyndhurst, NJ at the time. Thirteen miles from the World Trade Centers.
I was at work in Paramus that fateful morning. I still remember being told the news. We all stood around in shocked silence. We listened to the radio and heard when the second tower was hit. We heard about the towers falling. Then the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field. We were told to go home. Many of my co-workers had friends and family that worked or lived near the Trade Centers.
I couldn't leave fast enough.
My husband (fiancee at the time) and I had just moved to the area from Western New York four months prior. We were strangers in a strange land. We knew no one. We were still getting familiar with the area. I tried to reach him on the phone but all the lines were busy...land and cell.
I remember driving down a normally jam packed route 17 and it was deserted. No cars in sight. It was eerie and I was scared. In my 27 years I had never been so terrified. I wondered what was going to happen next.
In the distance I could see the dark, black smoke billowing up from the city skyline. It was horrifying. I drove with tears streaming down my face. I was shaking. I felt lost and uncertain.
I made it home in record time and walked like a zombie into our first floor apartment in a two story house. I locked the door, grabbed the home phone and turned on the television. I alternated trying to reach my husband's cell, his work phone and my mom. I used both phones. Nothing. Just a constant busy signal mocking me and my fears. I took turns pacing the floor and rocking myself on the couch. I felt exposed and so alone.
A plane screamed overhead. I shuttered and thought a bomb was going to drop.The whole house shook. Later, I realized it must have been a military plane heading into the city.
When I was finally able to reach my mom on the phone we cried together. She had been in a panic thinking we had been in the city that day. About once a week we were traveling into the city for job interviews for my husband. I am so grateful that this was not the case that day.
My husbands boss wouldn't let his employees leave. I still shake my head in amazement of his callousness. That was a day to be near your loved ones and hold them tightly. When he finally walked in the door I threw myself into his arms sobbing, so relieved to have him home with me.
My heart was (and is still) broken for everyone who lost loved ones that day. Hatred is a scary beast. I pray that one day peace can reign in our world. I fear it's just a dream out of reach in reality.
However, as I share my memories of that tragic day with my children I am determined to pass on hope for a better tomorrow. I remind them that we our strong. I tell them how much I love and cherish them. I hold them tightly glad that we have one another.