Remembering a life-changing event

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I’ll admit that I sometimes forget where I put my keys or whether or not I turned off the coffee pot, but I can assure you that I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
I know I’m not alone. That day will be forever etched in the memory of anyone who was more than six at the time. The day changed our outlook on our country’s safety and on our own futures — at least it did for me.
As I settled into my favorite chair with a cup of coffee beside me on that morning, I was planning on relaxing a little before my toddler-aged son got up for the day. Regis and Kelly were my morning coffee partners at the time and I was looking forward to happy banter between them. But, sadly, the interruption that morning was anything but happy.
As the newscasters came on to report that a plane had crashed into some huge building that I knew nothing about in New York, I was a little aggravated that my show had been interrupted by something that certainly didn’t concern me at my country home in Brewton, Alabama. As I sat there waiting for them to go back to my show, I saw the shadow and everything in me changed.
I watched the screen and it took me a second to realize what I had seen. The shadow was of a second plane flying a little too closely to where the first plane had crashed. Then, I heard the horror in the voices of those reporting the unfolding drama in New York. At that moment, I knew — and said to myself — that was no accident.
At that moment, my toddler came from his room, down the hall and into my lap as I sat there numb and mesmerized by what I was seeing.
I jolted myself from the chair and made my way into the kitchen to prepare my son’s breakfast and as I stood stirring oatmeal and waiting on the toaster, my understanding of what I had seen began to grow. As the newscasters continued their discussion and reporting of the events that were only minutes old, I felt a fear growing inside me.
I know that many people can recall — with great detail — what they were doing on that day. I am not alone.
As we remember the devastation of Sept. 11, 2001 today, I hope that I am not alone as I continue to recover from the horror that came to our country. I hope that I am not alone as I continue to say a prayer for those people who lost loved ones and those who were injured in those events in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington that day. I hope I am not alone as I continue to pray for our country’s safety and for the wisdom of our leaders who will make the right decisions so it never happens again. I hope I am not alone when I say a prayer for those men and women who continue to fight for the freedom we enjoy and fight for the same freedom for others around the world.
Because of the horror I saw, the recovery that has grown and the freedom I have to even put pen to paper in this space, I hope.
God bless America.