September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Story:I was (and still am) a telephone reservationist for the Museum of Science in Boston. That morning, I watched as planes took off from Logan Airport on my drive in- something I see every day.
As those first planes took off, I was unlocking my office, preparing for what was supposed to be another busy day working with schools planning trips. After the first plane hit the towers, I got an instant message from a friend online-- She stated that a small plane may have crashed into a large building in NYC, could I confirm? Being the newshound that my friends think I am, I set to it. Oddly, the major sites (CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Boston.com) were too busy and I couldn't get through immediately, but I did manage to confirm my friend's story to my utmost horror-- You see, by then the second plane had crashed into the towers.
I panicked. I work on the phones in a secluded office all day, but from the adjacent libary we can see the entire Boston skyline. I looked out on it in fear and found nothing but a crystal clear early fall morning.
Soon we came to realize we had a unique position-- Each of us had access to phones that worked with relative regularity. I set to calling friend's families, letting them know that I'd heard from their loved one and that they were well. I called home and got news updates from my father, who was watching the television and monitoring the radio stations. I instant messaged dozens of friends to check on them, and the journaling site I used (livejournal.com) had strangers banding together to keep each other informed as news sites remained difficult to access due to volume.
The only news footage I saw during that day was piped in to show on a large screen in our exhibits area.. And as I watched in astonished horror, behind me small children played, unaware of how much the world they lived in had changed. I will never forget that sound of innocent laughter, and the utter sadness that it drove into my heart.
I left Boston at 5pm and never, even during a major snow storm, have I seen the city so empty and quiet. The planes were all grounded, the highways deserted.. It was a long, spooky drive home.
The 12th was actually a harder day for me. I'd finally seen everything that happened on the news and the horror was too much to bear. Couple that with having to locate and confirm the name of a lost friend on one of the doomed flights and I was completely wrecked.
Life Changed:I learned what it was to feel completely vulnerable that day. My grandmother was 20 when Pearl Harbor occured, and now here I was, experiencing something so frighteningly similar-- an attack on our own soil.
Since then I have learned to be more careful, more vigilante in watching my surroundings. I've learned to taking nothing for granted as well. I tell those I love that I am thinking of them every chance I get. This fall I returned to school, and I am making every effort to make each day matter.
Should be remembered:We should remember that on that day we learned, to a degree, what it feels to live like in a nation under seige. If we forget that, we lose our capacity for compassion for other beleaguered nations.
We should remember the unity we saw immediately following. I've never seen such an outpouring of care and concern from Americans as a nation before-- For that day, we were one.
And most importantly, we should remember that we too, are vulnerable to attack- just as is any nation on earth.
Flag:I notice the flag more. While I did not fly a flag myself, my family did. I see the flags put on cars last Sept. 11th as a badge of commonality-- We went through this together, and look, we overcame and survived.