a conversation i had with one of my aunts this past week sparked this blog post.
"Vera, where were you when 9/11 happened? Were you here (Guam)?"
no, i wasn't. i was more than 6,000 miles from the people who mattered most and i was terrified.
It was June 2001 and I had moved to Portland, Oregon for graduate school and the rest of my life...or so i thought. I was still grieving after having celebrated the first anniversary of my grandmother's death, but life was going to go on.
oh, i was home sick...not as bad as when I left for college in 1991 at 17. but, it was bad enough. at least it was cheaper to call home in 2001 than it was in 1991. i was taking my classes, getting to know my colleagues, and trying to juggle homework and internship...and trying to find parking in downtown Portland at the end of a long day. i had already made plans to fly to Minneapolis to spend Thanksgiving with my uncle and his family and to Honolulu for Christmas break to meet my mom and auntie.
those tickets were bought.
and then the terror known as 9/11 happened. i made two phone calls that morning. One to my family at home.
Auntie Margaret said, "Vera, whatever happens, you're staying there. We're not bringing you home."
I supposedly was safer where I was. but, i was so far away and feeling it.
The other call was to my friend Patsi in Seattle. Her sister Colleen worked in one of the towers.
colleen was okay. she was able to get out of tower two. THANK GOD!
I don't think I'll ever get the footage of the towers falling out of my mind.
The kicker was having to still go on with life. People were dying in NY and I still had to go to my internship. The hardest part was trying to help 6-year-olds make sense of what was going on. may i never have to do that again.
But, as we all know there were many many people who didn't make it out alive. A grad school classmates father-in-law to be didn't make it. Many heroes didn't make it. Many are still losing their lives because of it.
i haven't forgotten. i remember 9/11 every time i board a plane. i don't grumble or complain about taking off my shoes or standing in the body scanner. i remember and i pray.