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Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th

I can hardly believe that it is already the EIGTH anniversary of the September 11th tragedy. For me, September 11th has a lot of mixed emotions as it was an obviously horrible day for our nation, but for me individually it was the day I started falling for my now husband and got accepted into college.

My September 11th story, which isn't much of a story compared to many of those that were in New York or by or in the Pentagon on that horrible day, is something I would like to share. It is amazing I remember eight years ago so vividly. It is one of the most vivid days I remember of my past aside from my wedding and the birth of my son. I am sure the majority (if they are old enough to remember) can say exactly where they were when they heard the first stream of news.

I remember driving in my oxidizing red Ford Probe on the morning of September 11th. I was due to go to class that day and I remember being very anxious about meeting a counselor later that day at my community college to see if I could get accepted into my school of choice. To take my mind off the upcoming meeting, I tuned into Elliott on DC 101 when news broke that a plane had hit one of the world trade building in New York City. Elliott wondered if it was an accident I was a bit shocked, but thought perhaps it was one of those smaller puddle jumper planes that had hit New York skyscrapers before. I called my Dad immediately and he did not believe me. The internet was running quite slow in his office located just a few miles from The Pentagon. New broke again soon after while my Dad was still trying to get onto the internet, a second plane had hit the other tower. I remember Elliott saying "this is no accident" and remember thinking "this can't be happening here. Its the U.S." My Dad said he would get back to me as I was pulling into the parking lot and we were all wondering what the hell was going on. I parked my car quickly and ran into the cafeteria to see a crowd of students surrounding one of the televisions. These weren't little planes. They were huge 747s filled with passengers...innocent passengers. I never felt such mixed emotions of fright and empathy for the people in and around the World Trade Center. There was never anything like it. Who could ever imagine thinking you're watching debris from a monumental building but find out it is actually people jumping? Who could ever imagine that both of the towers would fall forever changing New York, its people and its sky line. Who could ever imagine seeing people screaming and running for cover on US soil? Who could ever imagine family and friends holding up signs desperate to find their loved ones...daughters, brothers, Moms, Dads, Grandparents.....babies...? I will never forget those emotions.

I went wearily to class, but soon found out it was canceled because of the morning events. No one was going to pay attention and everyone wanted to glue their eyes onto the television screen. I could of gone home, but I had a meeting with the Marymount counselor at 11am. At promptly 11am I met with my counselor who was a very nice young woman at a table in the student cafeteria. We all felt a bit shaken, but preceded like professionals. I got accepted to the school no more then 15 minutes later after a brief over view of my transcripts and other criteria she asked me about. Shortly after 11:26, as I was still sitting with my counselor going over the details news broke on the television that a plane hit The Pentagon. A group of students started crying. One girl asked if we could all pray together. I asked the counselor if I could be excused, which isn't like me. I usually am too afraid to ask to be dismissed from such an important meeting, but I had to. I remember holding hands with strangers, praying, shedding a few tears and not knowing what to do. All we could do was pray.

It was then I realized where my Dad was. His building was so close to The Pentagon. I walked outside and could hear fighter jets (you know what these sound like if you remember that day and was near Dulles airport). They were so loud that I could barely hear my Dad. He was telling me that he had left the office early and to just come home. Be careful. Be cautious since no one knew what the hell was going on, but just to come home. After a rather long commute, I finally made it home with my parents both greeting me at the front door. We hugged and tuned into the news on the TV. I made several calls to my then boyfriend who had the gall not to answer the phone. I obviously knew he was not at The Pentagon or in New York, but seriously it was a day of confusion and he needed to answer the damn phone.

Soon after my then boyfriend arrived at my house. We ate a rather normal dinner with my parents all the while listening to ever tid bit of news on the air. After dinner my parents went to bed and my then boyfriend and I sat down in the family room watching television. It was then I got another phone call. It was his twin brother. His twin wanted my guy to leave me and go out to play pool with him. It was annoying because I hate being ditched. I hung the phone up because if he was going to be rude then so was I. The phone rang again two seconds later from the same stupid number, which I later found out it was my now husbands cell. Instead of letting the person talk, I started yelling into the phone telling how rude this person is and to leave us alone. The person on the other line got on the defensive as he was asked by his buddy (aka the twin) to make the phone call and he didn' t know what the situation was, but FYI...they were outside my house. That person that had called, is my now husband. I immediately felt bad for yelling at him because he had no idea he was doing someone else's dirty work. I went outside to "apologize" to this guy. Outside I met several other boys waiting for my then boyfriend to come out of the house. I went up to apologize to "J" and he extended his arms for a hug. I remember him wearing his yellow and black motorcycle jacket. I even remember the smell on that jacket...boy sweat and cologne. He also gave me a hug a bit longer then most guy friends should give to their friends girlfriends. All the boys started howling as my then boyfriend gave a jokingly glare at "J" while "J" returned a devilish smile. I decided to let my boyfriend go have fun with his friends and thinking I had class the next day went back into the house to rest for the following school day. No sooner then I said goodbye, I figured out school was canceled per the news and figured I would go out too for some fun. At that point I needed some time out of the house anyways. I called back the number that kept calling to coax my boyfriend out of the house. "J" answered telling me that they were at Sheetz down the road. I decided to meet them there, so I jumped in my "awesome" car and speed down the way.

I remember that night speeding down 28 to route 7 to go to this pool hall in Leesburg called Shooters. I have never been there, but apparently the twins had been there on several occasions with their Dad. It was also one of the few pool halls back then that would let kids under the age of eighteen in. Being too young for pool halls almost seems like a million years ago. As we all entered the pool hall, a cloud of smoke filled the air. We settled on one pool table close to the windows of the place. A few girls that knew the boys showed up shortly after. I remember during one point a girl going up to this sad looking "J" character to see what was the matter. He was not about to tell her anything. Being somewhat not myself decided to be a bit of a show off and see if I could get him to tell me whatever was troubling him. He confided in me that he wanted a good girlfriend. A girlfriend like me. I remember thinking how sweet that gesture was and told him perhaps he would someday. He had petted my ego a bit and to be honest I found him rather cute. Another jump that made me look at him twice, which so was not me in those days was a conversation he jumped in on when I was talking to my boyfriend. I remember asking my then boyfriend how many kids he wanted. He said something like maybe two. Back then and before I had kids, I wanted twelve. As I said that, my then boyfriend looked at me astounded and told me no way. However, sly "J" looked at me with a cute boyish grin and told me he would give me that many.

Later that night I remember "J" making a move on a girl that was playing pool with her obvious boyfriend who had taken a break to the mens room. I remember laughing with the guys as "J" got a phone number from this chick and her boyfriend had no idea. Who has the guts to do that?

It started getting late and we all headed home. I was told by my guy to give him a call just to make sure I got home safe since I had the longest commute back to my house. As soon as I got home and started throwing my shoes off in my room, I called my then boyfriend from the house line. A few minutes later my cell phone rang. I wondered who the hell was calling me so late. I looked at the caller ID and it was "J". Apparently "J" now had my cell phone number because I had used my cell to call him when I was trying to figure out where to meet up with the guys earlier that night. I remember my then boyfriend asking me who was calling, baffled I told him who it was and he wondered like I wondered why he was calling. I answered and I got a "hey sexy". I laughed and told him I was talking to my boyfriend. He asked if I got online at night and if I had an AIM. In those days I was always on AIM at night to talk to old friends so I said sure and told him my screen name. I hung up with him and talked a bit more to my boyfriend then later hung up with him as he wanted to go to bed. Later that night I started talking on AIM to different friends and "J" messaged me. I forget now what we talked about, but that night as innocent as I thought our casual flirting was started something. The rest is history.

9/11 was undeniably a tragic day.. As I said, it is a day with mixed emotions for me. I remember feeling helpless, confused, angry, sad, and had an unusual bond with strangers that day because of the attacks. I also remember feeling achievement by getting accepted into my desired four year school so I could finish my bachelors degree. I never planned on chemistry between my now husband and I to start that day. It was just something meant to be, but man what a story.

God bless the people who lost their lives that day and God bless those that sacrificed their lives to try and help save innocent people.

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