It’s been ten years. An entire decade. And I remember it so vividly.
I was living just outside of Washington, D.C., working as a reporter covering health care legislative and business news. I was scheduled to attend a meeting later that day at the Capitol building.
It was a beautiful day. Early fall in DC but still warm enough for me to be wearing a lightweight skirt and shortsleeve shirt and I wore flip flops during my commute. Coming up the escalator from the Metro that morning I remember thinking how it was eerily quiet on the street and the bright sunshine and deep blue sky made the walk to work seem almost surreal. I honestly believe I had a premonition something awful was about to hsppen and that short walk was my way of enjoying the last few minutes of the pre-9/11, pre-terrorism world.
Everything changed once I stepped through the office doors. It was about 8:45 and one plane had already hit the first tower in the World Trade Center, probably around the time I was getting off the Metro. I was sitting in my cubicle in front of the computer trying to get online when a colleague who knew I was from Boston told me about the hijacking. She joked: “I hope you don’t know anyone flying out of Logan Airport today.” I thought she was a tad insensative at the time but the truth was that none of us could comprehend the enormity of the events that were unfolding. She didn’t mean to be cavalier; nobody knew what to do or how to feel.
Because the Internet was bogged down from overuse, nobody could access any news websites to figure out what was going on so we all gathered around on of the small TVs in the office. The majority of my colleagues were recent college graduates, 1-4 years removed from college, many of whom were living with roommates and worked long hours. We were like a family and we watched in disbelief as the Towers fell, the Pentagon was hit and reports of other planes being hijacked filled the airwaves. We all wanted to go home but we were scared to leave because most of us had to travel back through the city to get home. There were reports of car bombs and threats of suicide bombs on the subway and on bridges – none of which ultimately proved true – but it was terrifying to think that our lives were in danger. Everything was uncertain.
I ended up getting a ride with a colleague I didn’t know very well but who lived close by my apartment. We made some inane small talk on the drive but mostly sat in silence. When we drove over the Key Bridge we could see the smoke billowing from the Pentagon.
Thankfully, nobody I personally knew lost their life that day. But me and most of my friends lost our innocence. I truly believe the events of that day led me to the decision to move back to Boston in 2003 to be closer to my family. A few years after moving back I met Evan.
So September 11th has profoundly affected my life in ways i could never have imagined. The events of that day are etched into my memory forever.
A decade later, I will never forget.