Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where we were twelve years ago...



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(a repost)

September 11, 2001, my husband and I were flying home to Portland from celebrating our twenty fifth anniversary in New England.  We originally planned to fly out of Boston, but changed our plans and flew out of Providence, Rhode Island.  While we were in line to check into our flight, the dark haired man with a thick accent in line in front of us was not allowed to board.  There was a problem with his ID...we've often wondered about that.

 While we were in the air to our layover at Chicago O’Hare, two hijacked planes slammed into  New York City’s twin towers.  At Chicago, our plane kept circling,  descending, then lifting back up.  We knew something unusual was happening, but no announcements were made to explain.  When we finally landed, we looked at the monitor to find our connecting gate.  Suddenly every flight said, CANCELLED. Every t.v. in the airport shut down.  It was a bit of a wait before the airline personnel told us about the twin towers, told us that all flights in the U.S. were cancelled and why. I assume they were trying to keep one of the busiest airports in the US from becoming a place of mass panic. We realized that the reason our plane had circled so long, was the wait for so many other planes to land.

 Our emotions at the news, indescribable.  Shock, fear, confusion, concern about our family at home. The airport was a mass of people frantically dialing their cell phones over and over, trying to reach their loved ones.  Finally, we were able to contact our children by cell phone.  While on the phone with our son in law, he saw on his television that the Pentagon was hit.  He screamed into the phone, "we're under attack!" There was no doubt now. 

Thousand of strangers in that airport became family.  I'll never forget how, when push came to shove, people banded together like that. Rental cars were shared.  People helped each other find lodging.  In the midst of it all, tears and frantic phone calls continued all around us, especially by those who had just left their family in New York City a few hours before.  Yet the atmosphere was not chaotic.  Everyone was polite, caring, helping one another. 

We ended up finding a vacant hotel room in a suburb outside the city.  The shuttle to the hotel was filled with stranded ones like us.  We were all equally shocked, equally confused at what had really happened.  None of us had seen a television or heard a radio so nothing really made sense.

In the hotel room, the first thing we did was turn on the television.  My husband and I held each other and cried when we saw what had happened while we had been in flight, blissfully ignorant.  We sat on the bed, eyes glued to the television hour after hour.  We saw Congress sing, “God Bless America” on the capitol’s steps.  We were sure that night that America would never be the same.  We were sure that the attack would cause America to return to her foundation, return to God.  

For a while, we did, but now, I fear that we have forgotten.


                                                                still following,
               


     

                    




13 comments:

  1. I can't imagine actually being in an airport at that time. Wow. I was at Domino's Pizza for a field trip with our homeschool group, watching the kids make pizzas, when the workers all disappeared to watch a small TV in the back. It's a day I'll never forget...

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    1. I thought it would change my life forever...make me always remember what's really important. How easily we slide back into the status quo.

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  2. I was in my classroom preparing to teach school. I saw the plane crash into the building and minutes later my students started coming in. The principal sent out a message that we should not say anything about it to them--she thought it better left for the parents to tell them.

    I had to teach all day without turning a tv on or listening to a radio. It was a very hard day of teaching. One of the worst I experienced.

    But, Elizabeth, here I have been following you for years and I never knew this story. How frightening to be in the situation you were in. That is an amazing story.

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    1. You learned something new about me! :)

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  3. Thank you for re-sharing this post Elizabeth. It truly is a day we will never forget. You happened to be near by on this day...I live no more than 10 minutes from O'Hare. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be traveling that day.
    Blessings to you.
    Beth

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    1. We could have stayed at your house! LOL! We ended up taking a very crowded Amtrack train ride home the next day.

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  4. We will always remember where we were on that day! Friends were scheduled to fly home from Washington D.C. and their story is much like yours. I'm so glad you were safe - only God knows the identity and plans of the man who was turned away.
    ~Adrienne~

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    1. I've often wondered about that man in line...

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  5. Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth. I had yet to hear about what that day was like for those flying elsewhere and being stranded in airports. Thanks for helping me remember.

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  7. That was a day that definitely changed America forever! With the confusion that surrounded the first flight, less prayer, but with the second flight hitting the same place it was more apparent that this was deliberate and not an accident. I believe at that point more targeted prays began going up and is probably what helped thwart the Pentagon crashes from being more severe. The brother of one of my international college friends was on one of the flights heading home to his family.

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    1. I wish it had turned America to God in a way that was more permanent!

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  8. oh yes, elizabeth, i fear this too...

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