Today is the anniversary of the most tragic and saddest day in American History. It’s the day when terroists decided to hijack four airplanes — two that struck the Twin Towers in New York City, one the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania. In all 2,974 innocent people lost their lives that day. It’s a day that we will never forget. It’s a day that we will mourn the loss of our bretheren that were sensely taken away from us, but most importantly taken from their loved ones for a cause they didn’t know about and/or support.
Even though September 11th is a day of tragedy and sadness and rememberance it should also be a celebration. A celebration of the lives of those that were so viciously taken away from us. Celebrate the joy and happiness they brought to us. It’s also a time to celebrate the resiliance of America and its people.
This day is also when we tend to reflect upon where we were and what we were doing.
I remember it like it was yesterday. When I woke up that morning I felt a bit out of sorts. For some reason it already felt pretty ominous but I chucked it up to it being the first day of me training a new manager on the teller line. A daunting task I wasn’t looking forward to. I worked at Bethesday Naval and we were remarking how clear the radio reception was. It always had static and to get a halfway decent reception we had to jerry-rig the atenna — aluminum foil and all. But this day, no jerry-rigging required.
Suddenly, we both stopped and looked at each other. It was as if someone had punched us in the chest. But it was also pretty weird because no one else in ear shot of the radio heard it. We shushed the teller line, turned up the radio and waited to see if our ears had deceived us.
We sat and stood in shock and amazement with jaws dropped. Soon thereafter members cell phones started ringing with the question: Did you hear? or Have you heard? Some response were “No” or “I just heard.” But one of the things I remember the most about watching the faces in the branch that day was how quickly we mobilized to console one another even though we still didn’t know the severity of what had taken place.
Working at a military credit union on a military base has its pros and cons and I knew that we were just thrown into one of the cons. There was a possibility we would have to stay open longer, borrow help from other branches, possibly open seven days a week. Kids fresh out of boot camp that didn’t put their affairs in order prior to leaving would soon converge on the branch, spouses of military husbands and wives would be making sure Power of Attorneys’ were in order, adding and deleting signatories to accounts would go up, processing loans would go up, educating young military families on the financial do’s an don’ts while their spouse is deployed would go up. We were in for a deluge that would not be easy.
After the proverbial dust had settled
settled kind of settled down and we had an idea of the extent of the tragedy. We I realized how close this hit home for me. The manager I was training — her husband only moments earlier left the side of the Pentagon where the plane hit. A cousin of mine was found wandering the Pentagon grounds bloodied and bruised. Another coworker lost her son that day in the plane that struck the Pentagon. There were no less than two dozen employees that lost loved ones that day and I knew several of them and the ones I didn’t personally know, I knew of them.
A fund was established for the victims and their families and credit union employees rallied together and did what we could. Branches and departments closed in support of those that had to bury loved ones. Other branches and departments stepped up to do the work while they were gone. We rallied around our coworkers like family. But then again were family.
13 years later and I still wonder where these people might be had their lives not been cut short. What might they have accomplished. I wonder this even though I didn’t know any of them. Every year my heart fills with sadness for their families, but then again my heart fills with sadness as I remember September 11th a few times a year. I think about how it has affected us. I realize that
we America is resiliant and that makes me proud.
What do you remember about September 11, 2001? How have the events of that day affected you?