We were of all places celebrating our anniversary at Disneyland with our then nine-month old. My niece had been born a little over a week earlier. My brother-in-law called us early in the morning and we feared something was wrong with our new baby niece. No, he wanted to know if we were ok and to turn the on television.
Because we were in Southern California I thought maybe he was concerned about an earthquake because they happen a lot of the time.
As it turned on the television and I watched a plane fly into one of the twin towers my mind thought this was an ad for a new Steven Spielberg movie. My brain wasn’t computing what was happening- Or what I was seeing for that matter.
My husband was just coming out of the shower and I said to him grab our son and sit down – “Your brother-in-law just called and something bad has happened in NYC.”
All three of us sat watching the television as we saw the second plane hit the twin tower and we both began to cry. We knew it was real, we knew it was serious, we knew that something horrific and life changing had changed and the world would never ever be the same.
My husband said without any emotion “We are under attack.” I remember taking our son from my husband’s arms and holding him close to me and apologizing to him. I told him mommy was sorry that something so scary was happening. He looked up at me and smiled only as a sweet innocent could not knowing the world around him as we knew it was in chaos.
We called our parents and told them we were okay and we were coming home. They were worried we wouldn’t be able to get out of the city. I reminded them who I was married to and if anyone could get out of the city it was my husband. I was so thankful I had him with me and I wasn’t traveling alone.
Things then quickly began to happen. We knew we needed to get out of Southern California, especially Disneyland. There were reports that other planes possibly had hijackers aboard and headed for heavily populated places like Disneyland. We then rapidly packed our belongings and in a very long line of other people checked out of our hotel thanking God the whole time that we chose to drive to Southern California from Oregon instead of fly. We must have said we were so grateful for driving instead of flying that day.
The drive home was almost like a caravan. Many people began to make their way out of the city and head for various areas. There wasn’t a plane in the sky except for a military fighter jet. I had a sense of comfort seeing that. I remember we talked about the why, the how, and who it might be. We had our individual thoughts, concerns, fears and opinions.
We listened to news radio all the way home. I remember at some gas stations the gouging had begun and gas back then was $5.55 a gallon.
I was never more thankful or relieved to be in the safety of my own home when we returned. I remember on the trip home I began to try to contact for specific friends in New York City who I knew worked at the twin towers. I was petrified because I could not get a hold of them. The waiting was agonizing. And finally we did hear from their families.
My heart is still broken for all of the victims and their families and friends and anyone affected by this horrible tragedy.
My love and prayers are with you all.