It's hard to believe that it has been five years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01. We were living in Grand Rapids at the time, and I remember the day like it was yesterday. Jeff had left for work, the girls were off to school, the boys were playing; I was folding laundry in our bedroom watching the "Today" show when they cut in with the news that a plane had hit the WTC. Like most people, I assumed there had been pilot error or something like that. I kept watching and remember yelling "There's another one!" as I watched the second plane hit the other tower. As it became obvious we were being attacked, I sat on our bed with tears rolling down my face, realizing that life would never be the same.
The morning seemed to last forever that day. I talked to my mom many times. My younger brother was on a flight out of Reagan International airport that morning, and we couldn't reach him. As his wife and my parents tried to call his office and his cell phone, to no avail, we all waited anxiously, hoping and praying that he was okay. Thankfully, he got off the plane and out of the airport just as the plane hit the Pentagon. He was able to grab a taxi and get out of DC before they closed off all the main highways, etc. He was safe, but those were very tense hours.
My sister, Becky, called me at home that morning, telling me to go pick up the girls from school. I didn't. I figured they were safe with their teachers, and I didn't want them to see what was going on on the television. I didn't want to scare them by changing their routine and letting them see my sadness.
The boys had haircuts that morning. I remember driving to their appointments, which were at a friend's house, constantly glancing up at the sky, watching for airplanes, even though I knew all flights had been grounded and I figured that Grand Rapids probably wasn't high on the terrorists' target list. It was a beautiful, clear day in Michigan that day too. It was eerily quiet and serene. While the boys got their hair cut, we were glued to the television, watching minute-by-minute coverage on Fox news.
The following spring, we moved east. Here, many people were affected directly by 9/11. Two men who lived in our town were killed at the Pentagon. Each year, the town holds a ceremony at the memorial garden, which was planted to honor these two men. One of these men had a young boy and a baby girl on the way. His family goes to our local pool, and each time I see his wife and children, I wonder how they are doing. And as I wonder, I hope that their family and all the others who lost loved ones on 9/11 know that we do remember and we will never forget.