It seems impossible that 9/11 was eight years ago. Like the generation before us asked "where were you when Kennedy was shot?" we now ask that about 9/11. I was working and my mom called to tell me that a plane hit one of the twin towers. A short time later I heard about the second plane (from my mom again) and this time she said someone on TV was talking terrorism.
Shortly after that, someone came to my office and said, "The Pentagon was just bombed. Come to Susan's office to see it." Knowing Susan had a TV I ran down there to see what the news reports were saying and was a bit numb. Instead of seeing the TV when I entered Susan's office, I could see the flames from the Pentagon from her window. Everyone was stunned and scared.
About a minute later someone from the HR dept ran through the halls saying that the office was closing, go home and be safe. (My office was two blocks from the White House.) On the drive home there were reports on the radio that car bombs were going off outside the Capitol and other false stories but no one knew that at the time. The station I was listening to had Peter Jennings reporting (at least that's my memory of the voice) saying that a tower just fell. It was chilling and I kept thinking this is a dream it's not really happening...it can't be happening.
During that drive home, I remember how oddly calm the traffic in DC was. The streets were packed with cars but I don't recall hearing any horns and most of the drivers were polite. I think as a group we were all stunned and scared and somehow that translated to being courteous to one another.
Like everyone else, I spent the day in front of my TV in disbelief. Donnie was on a business trip to Hawaii and ended up being stuck there for days (obviously). The next day I drove back to work and as I got closer to my office I saw soldiers with guns on the street corners. I cried just thinking how our country had changed in the past 24 hours and was scared of what might happen next.
I think about the people who lost their lives that day in NY, DC and PA. I also think about the bravery of the rescue workers who entered the burning buildings. Eight years later it still doesn't seem possible. Our safe America wasn't the same and never will be. As a friend said--it's a day to set aside red and blue--and remember the red, white and blue.