Today, September 11, 2015, is Patriot Day. Do you know when this became Patriot Day? Following the horrific bombing of the World Trade center towers, Congress signed a proclamation that September 11 would be Patriots Day.
On this day we remember! We remember what happened that day. We remember how it forever changed the world we live in. We remember what we were doing, where we were, and how it affected our very lives.
I remember sitting in our family room, watching Charlie and Diane, on Good Morning America. Richard and I were getting ready to go to the Kansas State Fair. We were taking Paige with us. Her first visit to the fair. She was only 16 months old. Still chubby. Still naïve. A beautiful head full of strawberry blonde hair. Barely able to walk. We were taking the Radio Flyer with us to chauffeur her around the fairgrounds in style.
As I was putting on my shoes and Richard was still shaving, the first plane flew into the building. Charlie and Diane (and everyone who was watching) thought is was probably a small plane that accidentally hit the building. It was 8:46 a.m. I flipped through the TV stations to see what others were saying. I told Richard who was still shaving. We both couldn't believe how crazy it seemed that the pilot couldn't see the building and avoid hitting it.
Then 9:03 a.m. While I sat there watching, a second plane flew into the South tower. Unbelievably, I was watching this live. It happened before the eyes of our nation. I hurriedly called Richard into the family room. We both sat and watched in horror. Having no idea yet what had happened we both begin to feel discomfort. I remember Richard asking, "Should we still go get Paige?" I didn't know. But we decided that we would go on with our plans.
We, first, met my friend Rozann downtown to watch her son march in the parade with the high school band. I remember how eerie it seemed. It was quiet. We later learned all flights over or bound for the continental United States had been grounded. For the first time ever in the history of air flights. Not a single plane in the air. Anywhere! People downtown were starting to hear the news. The marching bands continued but the talk was turning to "what happened in New York?" We are a long, long way from NYC. Yet we were beginning to realize our lives would be changing.
We had not yet heard that at 9:37 a.m. a plane was flown into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Or that at 10:07 a.m. a group of passengers aboard hijacked flight 93 attempted to retake the plane and it was crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
We left the parade and arrived at Justin's house. He was off duty that day. Brooke and he were watching TV. At 9:59 a.m. the south tower collapses. We talk in hushed tones. The day was somber. Richard and I gathered Paige and headed for the Fair. It was the quietest day I have ever been a visitor. Everywhere we went people were gathered in groups around TV's watching. Waiting. We learned that at 10:28 the north Tower collapsed. We heard people talking. We learned the President of the United States was whisked away, in hiding. Swept away by the Secret Service for his protection.
It wasn't much fun at the Fair that day. We tried to show Paige a good time. We fed her bits of a Pronto Pup. And cotton candy. Early in the afternoon Richard wanted to go home. He looked haggard. He later told me he was worried that we were going to have war in our country. We dropped Paige off. We headed home. And like millions of other Americans we became fixtures in front of our TV's for days to come.
At 8:30 p.m. we heard President Bush proclaim to our nation, "these attacks are evil and despicable." He declared that America, it's friends and it's allies, would stand together to win the war of terrorism."
This will be one of those days that will forever live in my memory. Like the day JFK was assassinated. The day of the first space launch. The day man walked on the moon. The day President Reagan was shot. I will always know exactly where I was in each of these moments.