Where were you?

I’ll be honest. The day I heard about the plane crashing into the Twin Towers I was in complete disbelief.

Where were you when you first heard about the planes crashing into the Twin Towers?

where were you

I had gone out that morning, leaving my husband and children at home, so I could get some shopping done. After I stopped at Kmart, I got in my car, and turned the radio on, as usual.

Instead of the station’s normal music, I was hounded by news story after news story. Busy planning the rest of my day, I paid little attention to the serious voices droning on in the background.

The news was of little interest until I heard something that caught my attention…terrorist attacks.

I began to listen and learned what had happened in New York City.

I was shocked…stunned by what I heard.


Our country has always been a safe place, protected from the harm that goes on around the world. Our country has always been a place we lived in comfort, a place we had many freedoms, and a place we lived without fear.

That day everything we thought we knew changed.

I raced home and turned on the television to learn more. I discovered that not only had tragedy struck New York, but Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania as well.

We all watched the television that day in awe, tears filling our eyes.

Things only got worse.

Days turned into weeks and then months. The devastation was still very visible and ever-present on the news.

Soon, I learned that my sister, an Army reservist, was being called to active duty.

I cried. I was so afraid for my sister and I didn’t want to see her go off to another country to fight a war which I didn’t think she was prepared. I didn’t want to lose her.

That was the most difficult phone call I have ever been on. Fear shot straight to my core and held on tightly; I never want to experience that feeling again.

She spent a lot of time getting her affairs in order and making sure that our parents had everything they needed to pay her bills, take care of her house, and countless other details she needed taken care of while she was gone.

The hardest part was getting her will in order. It made everything seem more real than it had in the previous weeks, and it instilled more fear in us. I don’t know how many times I asked her if there was some way that she could get out of it. The answer was always the same.

No. She had to go.

Before she left, we spent a weekend together and went out with her friends. It was a great going-away party, and we enjoyed the time we all were able to spend with her.

There wasn’t talk of what had happened to the Twin Towers or what could happen when she went away. That night was for making memories and remembering good times.

I cherished the letters she sent and the phone calls even more. Every time I heard from her, I felt a bit better and knew we were one day closer to her coming home.

Almost 2 years later, she came home. Again I cried, but they were tears of joy, tears of someone proud of her sister, tears of thankfulness.

She only went once, and for that I’m thankful. But I’m also thankful for those who have gone time and again, for those who have put their lives on the line for us, and for those who have lost their lives.
We are a changed country because of the happenings on that one day, 10 years ago.

writers' week

18 Responses to Where were you?
  1. Cori
    September 16, 2011 | 10:59 pm

    I’m with you, it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years and that one day in american history changed our history forever :(

  2. jackie
    September 16, 2011 | 11:53 pm

    I remember everything I felt that day. The sadness and the wanting to be with my family. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it was when your sister got called to duty.

  3. Renee(@2old2tap)
    September 17, 2011 | 9:50 pm

    I was watching CBS This Morning that day. As it unfolded. It was a frightening day.

    I thank your sister and all of those who serve to protect our country.

  4. Galit Breen
    September 19, 2011 | 2:37 pm

    What an emotional post Jackie! So poignant and personal- and yes. I can’t believe its been a decade either!

  5. Shell
    September 21, 2011 | 11:50 am

    I’m so glad your sister came back okay. How scary to have to watch a family member head over there.

  6. Jessica@Team Rasler
    September 22, 2011 | 2:48 am

    I was so nervous reading this, hoping your sister would come back ok! 10 years later…hard to believe all that’s happened and how raw so many of us still feel when we remember it.

    September 11, 2013 | 9:25 am

    nothing to add but nods and sadness.

  8. Steph Calvert
    September 11, 2013 | 9:35 am

    That day, I was getting ready for a job interview as a 911 operator (which later didn’t pan out). The rest of the day was spent watching tv, not even coming close to believing everything I was seeing.

    Worst. Day. Ever.

  9. Shop with Me Mama
    September 11, 2013 | 1:22 pm

    I was in bed :(

  10. gigi
    September 11, 2013 | 6:04 pm

    I was roused by my husband out of my sleep. He was up early watching the stock market.

  11. Miya Goodrich
    September 11, 2013 | 6:05 pm

    I can’t imagine what was going through your sister’s mind at that time. I’m so glad to hear she’s okay and I’m thankful for her service!

  12. Angela
    September 11, 2013 | 6:35 pm

    I was actually home on a sick day, after having surgery. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the television that day and for many days after. It’s something I will never forget.

  13. Melissa Burton
    September 11, 2013 | 6:45 pm

    I was in Brooklyn, NY waiting for my husband and mother-in-law to come back from downtown NYC (3 blocks away from the towers).

    I wrote a post about some of my feelings on that day today and was originally racing through your post because it brought up some uncomfortable feelings but then I stopped when I realized that because of 9/11, your sister was called for active duty.

    As much as 9/11 may have impacted me, it impacted you and your family so much more deeply. A brave post Jackie and much love to you and yours today and everyday.

  14. Nicole
    September 11, 2013 | 11:00 pm

    I was starting a new job so I turned the news on a 5:30 in the morning. I saw the first tower and watched live as the 2nd plane hit. I called my two best friends who worked downtown. I couldn’t get through. My stomach still drops when I think of trying to get my calls answered.

  15. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    September 11, 2013 | 11:19 pm

    So glad your sister is home safe again. I remember watching the morning show with Diane Sawyer and I distinctly remember her talking about it as we all watched the second plane hit at the same time. I remember her shock as she realized what was about to happen.

  16. Beeb
    September 11, 2013 | 11:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your moving story of your personal experience of 9/11 and the aftermath. I was actually traveling on that day, on a plane with my parents headed back to England (Where I’m from) for a 2-week vacation. We got to the bed & breakfast where we were staying and the owner opened the door and immediately told us what had happened; we turned on the TV and watched in disbelief.

  17. Melissa
    September 11, 2013 | 11:39 pm

    I’m so glad your sister came home!

    I was in Film as Lit class and our teacher got a phone call and then switched to the news. There was a boy in our class whose Dad was in NYC for business and I remember him running out of class to call his Mom. Devastating.

  18. Becca - My Crazy Good Life
    September 13, 2013 | 2:59 pm

    Such a sad memory. I was waking up when I heard the news and called my husband, on his way to work on a military base. I remember sitting in my bed watching tv and crying, while holding my 1yo son. I was SO scared.

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