I can't tell you exactly how many times I've been asked, "Where were you when you heard the news?" The answer is that I was in a parking lot of the local WalMart, having just escorted a tearful, tantrum-filled child to the car to cool down. I was in tears. I was frustrated. I was exhausted from working nights so that I could be home for kids and existing on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. And then I turned on the radio. I remember very clearly that I was turning out of the end of the parking lot and listening to the news people as they described the first plane hitting the trade center. I drove home slowly, listening to the news and my heart breaking. By the time I arrived home and rushed in to turn on the TV the second plane was hitting. In that moment I knew that things would never be the same again. I spent the day alternating between watching the minute-by-minute coverage and wanting to run to my daughter's school and pick her up, to make sure she was safe, that the horrible things going in the world hadn't touched her.
Ten years later my daughter is a whole lot farther away from me then she was that day. She's 9 hours away. When we considered colleges the rule was that she couldn't be further then it took to travel in a day. I needed to know that I could get there if I needed. There was a time when this wouldn't have been a consideration, but in light of such horrific events as 9/11, the Columbine shootings and the shootings at Virginia Tech it has become the norm to be that much more aware of what could happen. We can't live in fear. If we do then they've won. But we can be aware of how precious each day is and how our mentality has to change with the times. My mother worked as a Civilian on a Navy Base. She was aware that there was always the chance that something could happen. Part of my Father's duty in the Coast Guard was to watch for submarines or enemy boats from a cold tower near Lubec. Myself, I was a child who grew up under the shadow of the Cold War and saw the wall come down.
Ten years ago I was just finishing a book. It was a sequel to Obsidian and involved a Terrorist plot. After 9/11 there wasn't a editor or agent who wanted to touch it. The fact that the threat took place on American soil wasn't something that anyone wanted to see or read. I couldn't blame them. Despite the fact that I was passionate for the story I couldn't stomach it myself. The story is still in a drawer.
So many things changed that day. An innocence was lost along with so many, many people. For them, we are more careful, more cautious and we remember. So, like the others I'll ask... Where were you on when you heard the news?
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