September 19, 2001
Every generation has its defining moment, a point in time when you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing and how your world forever changed. America experienced such a day Sept. 11 with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. One did not need a direct connection to the victims or their families to experience the profound impact this tragedy has had on the lives of every proud American and those the world over who support democracy and value their personal freedoms.
That fateful Tuesday began like most others in our home. Shortly after 7 a.m. we were enjoying the last moments of another night's sleep while Ben was stirring the house awake as he prepared his breakfast and turned on his computer to play a video game before school. Around 7:27, Roni's friend Carolyn called with urgent news: something big was happening in New York. Roni switched on CNN, and as the TV glowed to life and we wiped the sleep dust from our eyes we saw plumes of smoke pouring from the top of the World Trade Center. A missile had hit the skyscraper. No, a plane. No, two planes. And then the unthinkable. We watched agape as the towers pancaked like a house of cards to the crowded streets below. In an instant the gravity of the situation sank in. Thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- dead.
The news grew worse with every passing minute. Roni has family in New York and was calling her father and sisters to make sure everyone was OK. Glenn's grandparents were flying from New Jersey to Montana that morning and we prayed theirs was not one of the four hijacked planes the terrorists had used to carry out their heinous attacks. Thankfully, all those we love were safe. We sent Ben off to school and then tried our best to go about our routines on a day that was anything but. We wanted to tear ourselves away from the horrible images on TV that were being replayed again and again, but there was no escaping the grim news.
In Antioch, we stopped off to pick up a newsletter from a local print shop and saw the first signs of a nation preparing to go to war. A delivery driver was talking to the shop owner about the need for immediate retaliation. "This is America, they don't do that to us here," he said. One angry man's comment, but a sentiment that is shared by millions. On a separate visit to one of Roni's clients in Oakley, we learned that her clients' son in law worked on the 83rd floor of the World Trade Center. He was on his way down the stairs when the tower collapsed and hasn't been heard from since.
Glenn had been looking forward to a shortened, uneventful work week prior to the start of a much needed vacation. But there would be no rest for those in the media. Glenn's newspaper put out a rare extra edition the day of the attacks and then followed with a grueling week of special sections reflecting the latest developments in a story that has so many angles they may never all be told. The mood in the newsroom, as in most of the nation, was somber.
|After weeks of waiting and wrangling with the furniture store owner, we finally got our new living room set (albeit in black rather than the blue we wanted) in mid-August. Roni, Ben and Eevee test out the loveseat. Photo by Glenn.|
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