Tuesday, September 11
It was supposed to be a get–a–few–things–done type of day. With the girls back in school, Bruce on duty, and one more week until fall classes resumed at my dance studio, I was free to do as I pleased. As a mom, wife, small business owner, and church volunteer, I prided myself on being organized, prepared, in control of my life. “No surprises” was my motto—or perhaps it was my plea to the universe.
The day started as most days did. Wanting to ease into my day instead of being thrown into it, I got up an hour before my daughters to shower, let the dog out, get my thoughts together, and have my cup of tea.
At 6:30 a.m., Meghan staggered into the kitchen, arms at her sides, head down, still half-asleep, and stood in front of me for her morning hug and kiss on the forehead.
Emily walked in moments later. “Mom, don’t forget I have that Red Cross meeting this evening. After school, are we coming home before going to the meeting?”
“Probably not. We’ll run errands or visit Nanny and Poppy”
Meghan chimed in. “What’s happening to me?”
“Still sorting that out. Daddy will probably bring you home. Let’s go, girls.”
The target time to leave the house each school day was 7:15 a.m. My daughters attended a small Christian high school in North Haledon, thirty miles away across the border in New Jersey. Even though their school was miles from home, it was near to my studio, making me available for drop-offs, pick-ups, and emergencies during the day.
Forty-five minutes later as I turned into the circular driveway of the girls’ school, I commented, “Make sure you have all of your stuff. Em, I’ll see you at early dismissal time. Meg, I’ll see you at regular time. Have a good day. Love you.”
Next, I headed to my dance studio to quickly check the mail and answering machine messages before heading home for my uncharacteristically free morning.
I had just gotten in my car when the radio came on.
“A small plane has flown into the World Trade Center.”
As I put the car into reverse, looked over my shoulder and backed up, the radio news anchor continued. “A second plane has hit the World Trade Center.”
What? I pulled back into the parking space and sat a moment. I turned up the volume.
I hadn’t misheard.
The World Trade Center was under some kind of attack.
I needed to get home. As I merged onto Route 208, the FDNY came on with an announcement.
“All firefighters report for duty.”
I knew the FDNY doesn’t call firefighters into work via radio announcements! This was bad, really bad.
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