Where Were You?

10:14:00 AM

It was a gorgeous, bright Tuesday morning.

It was uncharacteristically warm for a Tuesday in September.  I remember this because we were actually awake and getting ready for school and work quite early.  We’d gotten up around six.  I had to be to work by eight.  Annie had to go to pre-school at eight thirty, and Ammon had class at around nine.

We always listen to the same morning crew.  Chunga and Mister in the morning on 107.5 theEnd.  I was taking my time getting ready.  Ammon was in the shower.  I was listening to the DJ’s banter back and forth about meaningless chatter.  Annie was still sleeping.

I wasn’t really paying attention to what the DJ’s were talking about.  They tease each other and joke all the time.  They were famous for playing practical jokes on one another.  I hear Chunga say “No way Mister, you are pulling my leg”. Followed by Mister - “Seriously, a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center Towers”.

6:51 AM – Mountain Standard Time.

At this time nobody knew it was a jetliner.  Most assumed it was a single engine Cessna or something similar.  The DJ’s still bickered about whether or not this really happened.

I go tell Ammon in the shower - “A Plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York.”  “No Way…” “Yes, they think it was a small commuter plane.”

Ammon gets out of the shower, and gets dressed. We wake Annie and get her eating some cereal.  And head downstairs to flip on the TV.

7:02 AM – Mountain Standard Time.

It’s the only thing on the news.  This gigantic steel tower standing next to it’s perfect twin – billowing huge plumes of smoke.  Theres no way with that amount of smoke and damage that it was a Cessna.

Oh. My. Did. That. Just. Happen.

7:03 AM – Mountain Standard Time.

The second plane hits.

This is no joke.  This is not an isolated accident.

We sit glued to the television for another twenty minutes.  We watch the second plane hit over-and-over-and-over again.  It’s terrifying.  It’s horrible.  And yet, we can’t pull away from it.  We sit there wishing that somehow, on this next replay, it won’t happen again.

But it does.

I pull away.  I head to work.  I have to go to work.

Ammon says he’ll take Annie to school on his way to class.  I hug them both tightly and leave for work.

7:30 AM Mountain Standard Time.

There is nothing else on the radio.  Everything is moving in slow motion.  Everyone on their way to work is in the same sense of disbelief and utter shock that I am.  I can see it on their faces.

7:45 AM Mountain Standard Time

I get to work, and not surprisingly – everyone is glued to their computers – all on CNN or FOX or HLN – or whatever news site they can get to load.  Internet traffic is completely bogged down.  The internet frequently crashes due to server overload – and it’s like we’ve been cut off from the world. We have no television at work and we all need to stay tuned as this unfolds.  We have clients in NY.  One in the Twin Towers.  We start frantically making calls. All Circuits are Busy.

Ammon calls.

7:52 AM Mountain Standard Time

The Pentagon has been hit.

He and Annie stay home that day.  He can’t bring himself to go to school.  He spends the rest of the day glued to the coverage.

Rumors start swirling about other planes headed to the White House, but don’t worry the President is Safe – Sears Tower, Prudential building.  Anything can be a target.  All the planes are grounded.

Nobody is going anywhere.

Dad.

Where’s my Dad?

I call Mom.

Dad’s okay.  He’s in Sierra Vista, Arizona – it’s a training something or other.  I don’t really hear everything.  Just that Dad is okay.  Brothers are okay.  Everyone is accounted for.  Dad is stuck in Arizona though because all flights have been grounded.  They are looking for alternate ways home.
Mom asks me to call my sisters and let them know Dad is fine.  Brothers are fine.  Okay, I can do that.

I call Amy, she’s heard.  She’s grateful for the news.  Janene also has heard.  She’s also grateful for the news.  I call Heather.  She’s a paramedic and works nights.  She hasn’t heard yet.  I have to tell my sister this horrible, horrible news.  She gets up and flips on the TV.

8:10 AM Mountain Standard Time

A plane crashes in Pennsylvania.  This flight will later be known as the flight of heroes.  This is the one where the passengers fought back, and saved who knows how many countless lives by paying with their own.

Let’s Roll.

8:30 AM Mountain Standard Time

The Towers fall.  Straight down.  The whirl of dust and paper and debris fills the streets of Manhattan.  People walking out of the destruction look as though they have taken a roll in a coal pile – like we used to do as kids at Grandma and Grandpa Hegarty’s house.  This however, does not seem as though it’s going to be as fond of a memory.

The days following this day were a blur.  I remember leaving work early that day.  We shut down, nobody could do anything to concentrate.  I remember the skies being eerily quiet.  And it was also so bright and clear.  It was almost surreal just how bright and clear and sunny everything was in those following days.

The Flags.  There were so many flags.

The scouts from our Ward and many other Wards across the state of Utah (and I’d imagine elsewhere) put flags on tall white flag poles in everyone’s front yards.  Flags are draped across buildings.  The bank tower in Salt Lake City has a flag that covers the entire front of the building.  Businesses put them up in their windows.  Ribbons are tied around trees and line streets.  It really is a beautiful thing to see.  Almost like a Norman Rockwell Painting.

For the first time in many years, our entire country united together and supported one another.  I don’t remember hearing of any crimes committed by our fellow American neighbors on the news.  I don’t recall any name calling, back biting or politics as usual.  For those first few days – America was in mourning.  Nothing seemed quite as important as loving our families, supporting our friends and enjoying time with our neighbors.

In the weeks and months following things returned to business as usual.  People talked about banning all the coverage as it was too painful to see.  Politicians started trying to place blame.  War was declared.

But -

Music was written.  People came together to celebrate life.  The famous Field of Flags in Utah was born.  Monuments erected.  Survivors found in the rubble of the towers a week after the incident.  So many miracles.  So many wonderful things to hold on to.

We found out we were expecting a baby.  Our own little miracle.

The country started to heal.  But nobody can ever forget.

I’ll never forget where I was.  I’ll never forget what I felt that day and in the days following.  We have to always remember.

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