We all know what day today is, and I’m sure everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing 18 years ago.
AnJanette & I had been married for just 14 months. I had that whole week off – we were scheduled to go to Orlando on the 12th for a short vacation. I had risen, had my daily devotions, made breakfast, and turned the TV on just to see what was happening in the world. Apparently, I had watched something on ABC the night before, because when I switched it on that morning, the “Good Morning America” crew was trying to figure out why one of the towers at the World Trade Center was on fire. About the time they figured out a plane had crashed into it, the same thing happened to the other tower. Like everyone else, I watched in horror as the towers eventually collapsed. Word eventually came that the planes had been hijacked, and the entire aviation system had been shut down. Knowing we would not be making our trip, I called my boss and told her I would be coming in to work the next day. No sense taking the vacation days if we couldn’t fly and take our trip.
I spent the rest of the day watching the coverage. Peter Jennings was our favorite network news anchor, and he didn’t disappoint that day. Not only did he deftly cover the ever-changing news, he didn’t hide his emotions. He teared up when he talked about contacting his children to make sure they were all right. As they prepared to cover a press conference, he said, “Hopefully, this will give us some clarity on what the hell is going on.” Late in the day, I called the travel agency I had booked the vacation with, and they refunded everything. I told them I’d check back in when I had arranged a time to re-book the trip. We would eventually take the trip in early December.
The current “this is my party affiliation, if you have a different one, you are evil” mindset began, I believe, with the 2000 presidential election. You may remember there was a little controversy about which candidate had won the Florida vote. (Side note: I found it comical that so many old geezers were so eager to get in front of a camera to shout to the masses that they didn’t know how to operate a voting machine. I would have kept my incompetence to myself.) Backers of both candidates thought their guy won, and any notion that he didn’t was pure evil. Every year since then, it has been worse, and now we’ve devolved to the point where anyone who says anything that disagrees with “me” in any way is not only evil, but must be exterminated. But for one day at least, nobody cared. All we cared about was finding out who did this terrible thing and wiping them out. Everyone was in shock, and no one was mad at anyone. Everyone worked together. The huge pack of members of Congress singing “God Bless America” was a great sight to see.
I heard one talking head say last night that time is beginning to make the memories fade, that it’s harder to remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when the news broke. I don’t think that will ever be true for me.