11 September 2001… My Humble Remembrance

Posted on: September 11, 2011

Approaching the hours marking the 10th anniversary of the acts of terrorism against our Nation, I want to write my memories for my children. Even though it has been ten years, I remember as though it were yesterday.

10 September 2001: My parents were moving to Kaiserslautern, Germany in the upcoming weeks as my father was contracted to work at Ramstein Air Base-KMCC for three years. On this day, I bought a plane ticket to visit them for three weeks in November 2001.

11 September 2001: My alarm went off that morning. I was in deep sleep, dreaming one of my “war dreams.” I’ve had several throughout the years. On this morning, I pushed snooze on the alarm so I could finish my dream. I had dreamed about four bombs, three that had exploded but one that hadn’t yet done it’s job. In my dream, I kept hearing a weird name of the group bombing our country and it sounded like “Lebanon” but that word wasn’t quite right. I woke up when the fourth bomb failed to hit. I looked at the alarm and realized I was LATE for work. I quickly called my supervisor and told her (probably listed as a top wacky excuse to be late for work) that I had overslept because I had a dream about four bombs that I had to finish. Poor job ethnic, I know. Thankfully, she knew my quirkiness.

I left my home and was listening to Hallerin Hilton Hill as an ABC correspondent was reporting the crash of the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. I remember thinking what a really strange event that was for a plane to not realize they were about to hit a building. At 9:06 a.m, according to my car’s clock, the same ABC correspondent as he was continuing his coverage started screaming, “Oh my God! That looks like a second plane has just hit.” I don’t remember what he said next. Those words are sketched into my memory. The sound of the panic in his voice. I realized something bad was happening.

I was on Middlebrook Pike in Knoxville, TN, and was coming upon a Pilot gas station. I pulled in and ran into the store to see if they had a television. The store did and the clerks and other customers were watching the scenes unfold in horror. I shared that moment with strangers that I don’t even remember.

I felt an urgency to get into the office, a State Building. I left and drove quickly to my office; I think mostly out of a need to be with other people whom I knew and loved. This was before I had children or I surely would have rushed to be with them.

I arrived in the office around 9:30 a.m. Many of my co-workers were gathered in the break room watching the horror. The news shifted from the World Trade Center and began reporting that the Pentagon had been hit. My co-workers and I were in disbelief. There were three attacks. At that point, I suddenly blurted out, “There is supposed to be one more.” I received strange looks and comments. I couldn’t explain.

After the coverage continued and then started repeating the attacks, my co-workers drifted back to work. I couldn’t. I just felt like I KNEW there was going to be another attack. That story soon came in. The news that United Airlines Flight 93 was crashed by its hijackers and passengers due to fighting in the cockpit. I just fell silent. Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. It had missed its mark. Just like in my dream.

I’m thankful that I did tell my dream of the events before they occurred. I don’t understand why I dreamed what I did. I couldn’t stop anything. But I have paid much closer to my dreams since that time.

The day continued, evacuations and lock-downs began all over the country. I stayed at work reassuring birth parents that their children that were in foster care were safe. I called foster parents and offered reassurance. I attempted to track down my family to no avail. My youngest brother was in China for a year and my parents and other brother and sister-in-law were vacationing in Yellowstone National Park. I felt very disconnected. I was also extremely worried for a former classmate of mine who was an MSNBC correspondent as well as worried about my dear friend, Fabienne (she had lived with my family for a year as an exchange student from France), her children, and her husband who worked at the United Nations Building.

My friend, Fabienne, wrote today (9-10-11) on Facebook, “11 sept /9-11-01 : Just moved to NY from France. It’s very sunny, in the car with Elliot on my way to look for work at the local college. Listening to the news, can’t visualise things, so unreal. On campus, people crying. Home: I watch TV & wait for John to call home. I hope UN won’t be the next target. Loose track of time. He finally arrives. At playground; so many fathers. Not a word because of the kids. The next days, silent skies. We host 2 young French who couldn’t go home. Je pense a NY.”

It was a memorable day. A very sad day. A day that raised heroes and named enemies. I finally figured out the weird name I kept hearing in my dream that sounded like “Lebanon.” It was “Obama Bin Laden.”

I flew to Germany in November 2001. It was obvious the world had changed from an American’s perspective. Being allowed as a visitor on the Ramstein and Vogelweh bases was an amazing privilege. When I flew back home from Germany and went through the security checks, my thoughts were cemented that our liberty of traveling lightly and freely was forever changed.

Remember Us” sung by Diane Riegal; “Little Did She Know She Was Kissing a Hero” by Kristy Jackson; “There She Stands” by Michael W. Smith; “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning by Alan Jackson; and “May We Never Forget“.

Timeline For Attacks

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