September 11 Digital Archive

lc_story202.xml

Title

lc_story202.xml

Source

born-digital

Media Type

story

Created by Author

yes

Described by Author

no

Date Entered

2004-01-06

LC Story: Story

My husband and I had arrived in Florida from Fairfax, Virgina just a few days before September 11, 2001. We were starting our 2 week vacation. After spending a lovely Monday with friends in Melbourne, Florida, we were checking out of our hotel to head down to Vero Beach. We turned on the TV to use the checkout service and saw the news. At first we thought it was a tape from the earlier WT bombing, but we soon realized something else was happening. I urged my husband to hurry, as were we staying on the 17th floor of a high rise hotel.

Down in the lobby everyone watched the television. It was about 9:00 am. I took out the cell phone and called my co-workers in Washington, D.C. They had heard nothing about the attack on the Pentagon, in spite of working just 2 blocks from the White House. They immediately left the building.

Back in Florida we asked ourselves - What should we do? Where should we go? My husband, Dave, was an active duty guardsman - should we report to Patrick AFB, the closest base to us? With the phone lines tied up, we could not get through to the Andrews AFB office to check in. Since no orders were given, we proceeded to Vero Beach to visit relatives.

My widowed aunt was happy to see us and encouraged us to stay with her as she was alone. I like to think it gave her peace of mind. That day we learned about the pilots of the planes training in the Vero Beach area. I remember that it rained all that day in Florida, while we all watched the television.

LC Story: Memory

I think the confusion and uncertainty of that day remain as the primary memory. Where to go, what to do. We went to a restaurant - there was noone there. People were afraid to go anywhere. It was the fear of the unknown. It was as if we were all infants and the world was a big scarry place. But we had noone to guide us. We really needed to did deep to keep calm.

LC Story: Affects

We have lost our innocence and our carefree joy. Our parents knew what this was like - they lived through WWII and the depression. Some of the Vietnam vets knew what this was like - but the rest of us were untainted by the horror. Now we knew what real fear was like.

We spent the remainder of our time in Florida wandering from one empty tourist spot to another. Patriotism surged. We checked in with every relative who had left messages on our answering machine. We wondered if we should go home to Fairfax - to the machine guns in the streets of Washington. We kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. We are still waiting. I think we will be waiting for the rest of our lives. This apprehension is difficult to live with day to day. Now with the Iraq war, it just gets worse.

Citation

“lc_story202.xml,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed February 24, 2020, https://911digitalarchive.org/items/show/146.