I can recall so much about September 11, 2001 as I look back 10 years later. At the time I was living in Massachusetts. That morning I woke up early as I had a dentist appointment. I went about my daily routine...took a shower, put on my makeup, tied my wet hair back in a low bun. I remember I put on a coral coloured halter top from JCrew, a pair of LEI jeans and my coral striped flip flops from Old Navy. I headed out to my electric blue Dodge Neon, started the car and the Britney Spears Oops I Did It Again album was playing on repeat in my CD player. I drove the 15 minutes to the dentist...for my 9:30am root canal (yep, root canal) appointment, got out of my car, took the lift up to the dentist and sat in the waiting room. I was the only person waiting that morning and as I waited, I flipped through a magazine while I waited to be called and tried to ignore the talk radio that they were listening to. I thought it was NPR or something 23 year old Jean found very dull. As I waited, I heard the 2 women behind the desk saying things like...
"I cannot believe that this is going on"
"It just doesn't seem real"
"It has to be a terrorist attack"
It wasn't until I was eavesdropping that I decided to tune into what was being said on the radio. It was at this point that the Pentagon had been hit, I still did not know a thing about the Twin Towers. My ears immediately perked up as my cousin Michael, who was in the US Air Force at the time, worked at the Pentagon. I listened intently trying to find out what was going on and it wasn't until a few minutes later that I found out about the Twin Towers having been hit. My level of nerves went up! It was then that I vividly remembered hearing my friend Emilee talk about how she had the most amazing view out her dorm window of the World Trade Towers. Needless to say I was sufficiently freaked...my cousin and my best friend affected by this!?!?
I was called into the office and prepped for my root canal. Meanwhile, the dentist and the dental assistant were talking about what it going on, but I couldn't ask any questions as I had all sorts of needles, tools and hands in my mouth. I was forced to sit there and listen to the events unfold and I was completely helpless. I kept thinking, what if my cousin is dead? What is something happened to my friend? Then as I was laying there I hear the words over the radio "The South Tower is collapsing!!!"
I listened to reports of both towers collapsing, I listened to the news reporters talk of people jumping out of the windows 90 stories up, I listened to the report of the plane crashing in the field in Pennsylvania. I listened for 2+ hours and it wasn't until I got home that I SAW the what was happening in my country. On my way home from the dentist I called my mom to see if she knew anything about my cousin and she delivered the good news that he was OK. We later found out that his office was in fact in the area that was hit, but that section was being refurbished so he was relocated somewhere else. I was able to get in touch with Emilee, who was audibly shaken. I remember her saying "Jeanie, I watched it happen out my window. I watched it happen." I knew she would be getting inundated with calls all day and I didn't want to clog up her line, but I told her I loved her and we hung up. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that these 2 people were safe.
When I got home I remember making myself a bowl of instant mashed potatoes (it was soft so I could eat it) and I sat in the green chair in my living room and was glued to the television for the rest of the day. I watched in horror the images of Tower 1 burning as the plane flew directly into Tower 2, the images of the Towers collapsing are images I will never forget. I couldn't pull myself away from the television. I had to watch it over and over again. And not once did I ask what is wrong with me...because I knew that everyone around the country was doing the same thing as me.
It was a day I will never forget. It happened 10 years ago and it's one of those things where I feel like it happened only yesterday. I've only ever been down near Ground Zero once, it was the second winter I lived in New York City. I was on one of those hop on/off bus tours with a friend in town and it drove down that way. I always felt like it was forbidden area to go to. To me it was never an attraction. I just seemed taboo. I can recall the first time I took the subway downtown and the stop I needed to get off as was World Trade Center, it just seemed a little spooky.
I was one of the lucky ones. I didn't lose anyone I know on that day, but every year on the anniversary I think about the thousands of innocent lives lost. September 11th is a day I will never in my lifetime forget.