Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001.
Being a librarian, that is a date I frequently come across - it's a subject heading, used for both books and also for articles used in the Air University Library Index to Military Periodicals (AULIMP), which my library produces. I guess, as a result of the latter, I've gotten a little immune to what it actually means.
The Professor and I talked today about what we remembered about that day. I was an undergrad - actually, I was due in one of his classes that day. I remember that I woke up and got in the car to go to class, listening to NPR and thinking that the news coverage was about the previous attack on the World Trade Center, because - surely, the US wouldn't be under attack? Surely, it was just a normal day?
After 10 minutes in the car, on my way to class, I realized (ok, belatedly, it was a long night before) that it was happening in real time; it wasn't some kind of anniversary special report. I got to the university and my class was cancelled, so I turned around and went home to the apartment.
I remember calling my mother - I knew none of my family was in New York City, or Washington DC, but I remember needing to hear her voice. I remember standing in my living room, talking to her about what was going on - not the actual words. Just that hearing her voice was all I needed then.
And then I had to work a night shift at the restaurant. It was so quiet. There were few customers, and none of them wanted to be anywhere but the bar - because that's where the TV's were.
I remember being afraid - "what if it's just the first attack? What location is next? What's the new normal?". Living in a small town, in the Deep South, I wasn't in any danger - I'm probably not living where someone would choose to hurt the US. But still, the danger was there in my mind.
I was lucky. I lost no one. But I'll never forget the fear of That Day.

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