I had an 8:00 am communications class on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was a beautiful, autumn-like morning, and I remember quickly getting ready for the day and heading off to class on my new bike. Josh and I were newlyweds, and we decided to ride to class together each day. We'd travel together until I had to go to one building and he had to go to another.
That particular morning, our class was working on small group projects. After Dr. Miller took attendance, we split up and found a table right outside the classroom door to meet and discuss what we were doing. I remember Nathan Evans sitting across from me, and after working on our project with the others for a few minutes, I saw Dr. Miller walking towards us from the hall where his office was located. His face looked perplexed.
He said, "My wife just called. She said the World Trade Center has just been hit by an airplane."
To be honest, there was no sense of urgency in his voice, and I really didn't think much of it. He thought his wife meant a small passenger plane, and that's pretty much what I pictured in my mind, too. It must have been an accident. We continued working until our class time was finished, then I walked out of the "new" part of the library, hopped on my bike, and continued to my next class at Taylor Hall.
As I approached the door, it felt like everyone was talking all at once as we all entered the building. I tried to hear the different conversations, but they all seemed to mix together. I do distinctly remember hearing one girl's voice saying, "There could be 20,000 people in those buildings!"
I'm still not sure if I understood the magnitude of it all because I hadn't seen a TV yet.
I continued with my second class of the day, and by then everyone was talking about it. I understood that a large, commercial plane had hit the north tower, then another hit the south tower, but I'm not sure if I still really grasped what was happening. I left Taylor Hall and headed back to my tiny apartment on the other side of campus.
Then I received a phone call.
"Chrissy...your Uncle Doug had a meeting in the South Tower of the World Trade Center today. Aunt Kathy hasn't heard anything yet. You need to pray."
I turned on the TV to watch the chaos, and the reality of it all finally hit me. It hit all too close to home. How could I actually know someone who is living this nightmare? Has Doug made it out yet? What if he doesn't? How could this be?
Not long after the first phone call, I received another call from a dear friend of mine. "My uncle is supposed to be at the Pentagon today. We don't know if he's there or not. Will you please pray for us?"
It all started weighing heavy on my heart. As the news was trying to make sense of it all, I prayed. I prayed for my uncle. For my friend's uncle. I prayed that somehow this would not be as big as what everyone was saying it would be.
Fortunately for our family, the nightmare only lasted for a few hours. By 11:00 am, my mom called and said that Kathy had heard from Doug, but he wasn't sure when he'd be able to come home. I was so thankful that he made it out of the tower.
My friend found out that his uncle did not go to the Pentagon that day, and I rejoiced with him.
Then I began wanting Josh to get home from class. I wanted to see him. I wanted to hold him and thank God for him. I wanted to go back to Owensville, my home town. I wanted to see my mom and dad and sister. I even wanted to see my in-laws! I just wanted so badly to tell everyone that I loved how much they meant to me. It all seemed so surreal, but it made me realize how quickly everything can change in our lives.
Everything did change for our country.
It is still is so vivid in my mind...I know it's still vivid in many minds across the world. Nine years have gone by, and yet, my heart is pounding as I write this. The reality of it all just gets to me.
What do you remember about that day?
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