I Remember

Newt is growing so fast. I can’t believe she will have a birthday next month. Is it possible that she is almost one? She won’t be a baby much longer…
It’s about eight in the morning on the west coast, but Walt has not gone into work yet. He is going with me to have our new forward facing car seat correctly installed at the dealership. Right now, he is out on the driveway, cleaning out the car.
I’m inside, in our bedroom, getting Newt dressed for the day. I hear the phone ring and walk over to answer. The caller ID informs me that it is Walt’s mom. I cradle the phone on my shoulder so I have both hands free to snap Newt’s onesie.
Good morning, Bonnie.
Heidi, are you watching tv?
I hear fear in her voice. No. Why? What’s going on?
The Twin Towers in New York were both hit by planes. They have fallen down. America is under attack.

I don’t understand.

What kind of planes? Were they some sort of military plane? Did some country declare war on us? In my mind, all I can imagine are big WWII bombers, flying in formation over New York City.
I don’t turn on the tv. I can’t. I need to tell Walt first. He lived in New Jersey for two years. The World Trade Center was just across the harbor from him. He’ll understand what’s going on…
…but he doesn’t.

The Twin Towers have fallen over? That’s not possible, Heidi. You have no idea how big they are. My mom must have gotten it wrong.
He rushes inside ready to hear the news confirm that the impossible has not happened. To hear them say that it is all a big misunderstanding, that the world has not been turned upside down… I follow behind, holding our baby.

Image source: FEMA Report

Image source: Unknown

We sit in stunned silence, too shocked to speak, as the images sear themselves forever into our minds. Confusion reigns supreme. It wraps itself like a cloak around the news anchors desperately trying to report facts, when facts are in short supply…
around the dazed bystanders, covered in dust and walking like zombies…
around me.
Why did this happen? Who would do this?
What kind of world will my baby grow up in?

After a few moments, Walt switches off the television; we have an appointment to keep. Car seats are important. We want our baby to be safe, yet I can’t help but wonder if we are fooling ourselves.
We  don’t speak much on the ride over.  We just listen.  The car radio is much the same as the television. No one knows anything, but speculation continues.
Is there a significance to the date? Nine-eleven for nine-one-one?
How many thousands have been killed?
How many are trapped, waiting for rescue?

I resolve to go give blood later that day. I want to do more, but what?  There is no answer…
I pray for the victims, the families, America.
Later, we are home again. The television is on. I am both repulsed by what I see and compelled to keep watching. I can’t seem to stop crying, both from sorrow and pride.
People jumping from the upper floors…
The heroes of flight 93…
Families holding hopeful photos of missing loved ones…
Tributes to the police, fire-fighters, and Port Authority…
Stirring words of comfort from both Rudy Giuliani and President Bush…
A fiery, gaping hole in the Pentagon…
The news rolls on. I am not the same.
In the days to come, I will feel a greater connection to my fellow humans. I will swell with pride at the sight of flags being posted all over town. People will treat each other more gently. Americans will feel united in a new way. New facts will come to light, but there will be few real answers.
I will worry.
And then slowly, things will begin to “normalize”. The flags will come down. Tempers will flare. Our country will become more divided than ever. Most of us will commit the crime of forgetting.
I will commit the crime of forgetting.
Who can think of death, and terror and loss when there are bills to pay and dinner to be made?
And yet, there were so many. 3,497 people died that day. To them I say, I’m sorry.
And for them, I take time to I remember.

Remember with me this weekend. Learn more about the victims of 9-11.


  1. I remember, as a teen and young adult, my mom’s extreme disinterest in anything about Vietnam. She would not look at pictures, watch anything (fiction or non-fiction) on tv about it. She said she had lived through it and didn’t need more. I didn’t understand but I do now.

    I was at work in Rhode Island. I got my husband on the phone quickly. Then, I went upstairs to my mom (she worked in the same office building as I did at the time). We talked and I was so grateful to have my mom with me as the day unfolded. I worked for CVS corporate. We had people from my team working in downtown NYC that day that I needed to check on. One of our team members was working on Long Island that day and had a son in NYC in his freshman year at college. He drove as close as he could and then walked into NYC to find his son since he could not reach him any other way. Luckily he was fine. Everyone I knew was fine.

    2 months later, CVS decided that the economy was doing badly because of 911. They cut a ton of jobs in one day. After 15 years, my job didn’t exist any longer. I LOVED my job. I was passionate about it and did it well. I was newly married. What was I going to do? It only took a day to decide. We would have a baby. So, I stayed home, didn’t look for another job. 2 months later I was pregnant. CVS contacted me and hired me as a consultant for most of my pregnancy and I got to work from home!! In my pajamas! I took naps ALL THE TIME. It was great. Since then I haven’t had a paying job. I am a mom and nothing is better than that.

    If it weren’t for 911, I don’t know when or if we would have decided to have a child. Ian is a result of that terrible day. I forever tie him together with that event. I try to see my son as one of the blessings that came out of the ashes.

  2. Your comments echo the feelings of so many of us on that day and in the weeks and months that followed, thank you.
    I found your site through homegrown countrygirl’s blog! 🙂



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