I answered the phone in the typical fashion I would when I ran my dad’s insurance office ten years ago. I remember hearing the panic in his voice as he said, “Kasey, Kasey, have you seen the news?! Our country is under attack. I want you to close the office and come over here right away. I’m sure everything is going to be okay here, but I want you to come over anyways!” I remember. I remember that I hadn’t heard or seen the news. I had no idea what was happening until my dad’s call. I remember that my step mom had been diagnosed with stage four brain cancer just about one month prior to the day of September 11, 2001 and I was still reeling from that news while she already had to stay home because the cancer was advancing so quickly. I remember trying to celebrate my first wedding anniversary amidst such sorrow of Phylis’ diagnosis, my marriage already struggling at such an early time. I remember September 11, 2001 being a tough period before the attacks ever occurred. I remember quickly closing up the office and rushing to my dad and Phylis’ home, getting inside, and walking quickly to join them in the living room with their wall-size wide screen TV blaring the sight of crashing towers, burning airplanes, and people scrambling everywhere while news reporters tried their very best to tell us viewers what the heck was happening. I remember asking my dad, ‘where was Uncle Dick [a decorated Captain of the navy who lived near Washington D.C. and spent much of his time there], where was Aunt Anna who worked at the Pentagon, where was cousin Carly who apprenticed in downtown New York City? Thankfully, all were safe. My best friend, Amy, worked down in Los Angeles, were we next? I remember sitting on my dad’s couch, my own grief stricken by the sight of my ailing step-mom, and yet focusing on the chaos hitting our country. I remember over the next week lying in bed watching the footage played over and over again as tears ran down my cheeks in empathy for the suffering. I remember Lee Greenwood topping the charts in salute to life lost and those serving our country in redemption. I remember feeling a sense of pride at all of us flying our flags, flying them on our cars, showing American unity. I remember when these signs and memorials began to fade, wondering “why?” I remember questioning God, doubting…
There was the Civil War, the A-Bomb, the Vietnam War, the shooting of J.F.K., there was the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., and many other historical tragedies marking generations past, but for my generation, I believe the most unfortunately defining and should-be-remembered tragic event of the United States of America was September 11, 2001.
I do not remember much more about that morning than what I’ve recounted already…I’m sure I called my husband…my mom…my sister…to hear their voices…but I really do not remember. However, I felt that I should record what memories I do have from that day and time because what happened should never be forgotten, because I love this country with all of my heart, because Maycee will some day try to undertand it, but most of all because an act of insane cruelty should continue to be overcome with strength and love and the American spirit.
We all need to remember how fragile life is, how quickly it passes…just look…ten years….gone.
I love you, Readers. God Bless America today and every day.