Then: Breaking News.
First the picture that one of the Twin Towers on fire. I was shocked, how horrible! And the very first thing that went through my mind was the bombing in the World Trade Center in 1993.
I thought, "My God, they did it again." The news anchor was listening for updates and not speaking yet. Then the announcement that a plane crashed into the building.
I called, my friend and neighbor, who also had a four year old, always up early, and they came over immediately. She put her daughter with my son and came in my room. A second neighbor, just walked in and sat on the bed. The three of us silent, transfixed. All of us, still in pajamas.
I called my parents, "Are you watching the news? Well turn it on!", then hung up.
We sat together, staring at the horror, when this appeared on screen:
We reached for each other and held hands. "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God." We were two military wives, one military member, and we knew what this meant.
One is tragic, two...deliberate.
We sat in silence watching the news, the children happily playing, oblivious, as report after report rolled in of other hijackings, potential hijackings, and fear for which target would be next.
Then the Petagon...
As the towers fell, as the panic ensued; our fear, anger, and worry set in.
"We need to donate blood." It was something Amy and I did once a month, but I felt compelled to do it right now.
We hurriedly dressed and headed to the Red Cross, while Johnnie got called in to work.
We were listening to the radio about the crash in Pennsylvania, while heading down the road to helping the only way we could. Upon our return to the military base we lived on, it was locked up tight, cars were being searched, bomb sniffing dogs, confusion, and panic.
We spent hours together silently tending our children, eating a tasteless lunch, before she took her daughter home and I held my son. The world had changed and we would never be the same. Attacked in our own country, on our own soil.
Trying to explain to a four year old little boy what it meant, why Mommy was crying, and later... why Daddy had to leave us for so long...
At 8:49 EST, every year, I say a prayer for the ones who were lost, the families left behind, and those (like my husband) who fight to prevent these things from happening again.
Although much more profound, I think of this a "The Kennedy Tragedy" of my generation. A Nation shocked, stunned, and immobile, before getting angry and seeking revenge.
I will never forget that morning.