Sunday, September 14, 2003

Where I Was 

Earlier today, somebody asked me where I was on 9/11/01. I didn't much feel like talking about it then, but I sorta feel like writing about it now.

I was at the vet with my much-loved Golden Retriever Rusty Angel, and had just found out that he had a second lung tumor, and not long to live, so I was very, very sad. I stopped at the local CVS to pick up a prescription and got in line at the pharmacy. The lady who was being waited on ahead of me turned around to leave and it was apparent that she was very upset, so I asked her if she was OK. She was crying and said, "Haven't you heard the news?" I said I hadn't, and she told me that a plane crashed into one of the World Trade Towers in NYC. At this point, I was thinking it was just an accident, like everybody else.

I quickly got my prescriptions and got back to the car and tuned in the local news radio station. I picked up the cell phone to call my husband, but immediately, it rang. It was my husband calling me to tell me that my brother had called him with news of a plane hitting the towers and that I should come right home.

I walked into my house, where the scene on our too-large-for-this-purpose television was the second plane slamming into other tower...over and over again. I called my very distraught brother, who lives in NJ, about 90 minutes out of NY. His wife works one block from the Trade Centers and he hadn't yet been able to reach her. I was on the phone with my brother when the first tower collapsed. I have never heard a human make the kind of anguished cry that came from the other end of my phone. He was convinced that his wife, like the tower we’d just watched collapse, was gone.

We were to be counted among the "lucky" that day -- my sister-in-law made it home (albeit much later that night) safely. She had been in her office, which faced the towers, and bore unwilling witness to the second plane hitting, as well as to the mass exodus from the immediate area. She made it onto the last subway into midtown, and didn’t even know that the first tower had collapsed until somebody told her to look.

It was a horrible morning, followed by an unforgettable mourning.

Rusty Angel died less than 2 weeks later. The two events are forever linked in my mind; I can't think of one without thinking of the other.

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