On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I thought I would reflect on how it affected my life. If you’d like to share your stories in the comments, I would love to hear them.
I lived in Washington D.C. at the time and worked at a brokerage firm. I arrived late to work that day and when I got in, everyone was already talking about the first plane that hit. I knew in my gut right away that it was a terrorist attack. I was a fan of “America’s Most Wanted” back then and they featured Osama bin Laden on there quite frequently. So there I sat at my desk, watching the TV in my boss’s office. Quite a few people were gathered around to watch, but I could still see. That was about the time the second plane hit. When the third plane hit the Pentagon we were told we could go home. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The only problem was the Metro (subway) wasn’t working and that was my means of transportation. I panicked and figured I could always walk home–I’d done it before–even if it did take two hours. Luckily a coworker offered me a ride even though it was completely out of his way.
The streets were crowded people–trying to use cell phones that didn’t work and get out of the Metro that stopped running. On the way home we could see the smoke from the Pentagon filling the sky. When I got home I sat glued to the television. Like so many others, I watched in horror as the towers collapsed and people ran for cover.
The days after that were kind of crazy. It was dead outside. Not a sound could be heard, except for the military helicopters that circled the sky day and night. Any cabdriver that looked of Middle Eastern descent could be seen standing outside of their cabs talking to one another. Sadly no one wanted to ride in their cabs. I had the rest of the week off work because the stock market was closed–all the windows had been blown out of the building. I should correct myself, I didn’t actually have the time off work I just didn’t show up. I went there the day after and there was nothing to do except ruminate on the fact that everything had changed, so I didn’t bother to come back–not even for a mandatory meeting that was scheduled to discuss how we would deal with the changes. I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t like the job that much to begin with. The only thing that kept me there was the fact that I needed money and I liked the people I worked with. I spent those few days off at my boyfriend’s house watching movies.
In the days and months that followed (nine months total) I moved in with my boyfriend (something he had been wanting me to do for quite some time), quit my job without having another job to go to, got engaged (something I thought I would never do because I never wanted to get married), and–most importantly–left DC and moved to California.
While that day brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it, I’m thankful for the change it brought about. I realized at that moment that life was too short to be doing things I didn’t want to do and not making changes because I was too afraid.
Ten years later I have already fallen back in to old habits as has most of the country I’m sure, but today we all remember the people who died and those courageous souls that lost their lives to try and help. My heart and prayers are with everyone who was affected by this tragedy.