Twelve years ago today I was a receptionist for Bank of New York (DE) in Newark, Delaware. I remember I was working when the first tower was hit and an executive came walking quickly down the aisle near my desk. She went into the VP’s office and shut the door. Less than 20 minutes later two more of upper management came running down the same aisle. They opened the door and slammed it behind them.
I could speculate and exaggerate but to be honest that’s all the specifics I remember. I’m not sure if an email was sent out or a verbal announcement was made or if it was just whispers throughout the office.
Soon everyone was on the internet looking at pictures. We soon heard about the Pentagon and the plane in Pennsylvania. There were stories of a fire at the DC Mall. Schools were being closed. Everyone was very upset. All the mothers wanted to go get their children and just get home. It's funny. I understand this more now as a mother. When the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary happened I just wanted to get to and hold Tino so badly and kiss him.
I think the one memory that stands out in my mind was when I got home. Ryan had left Buckley’s and was at my parent’s house getting a shower and changed out of his work clothes. He was sitting on my bed in my room putting his shoes on. I remember telling him that I was scared. That this was our generation’s Pearl Harbor. I remember asking him what if we went to war. I remember telling him I was afraid he’d be drafted. I remember fighting back tears and completely losing the battle. I remember Ryan holding my hands and having me sit in his lap and he told me that no matter what we would be okay. I think he took me out to dinner to Season’s Pizza in an attempt to relax and have some semblance of normalcy.
The next few weeks we had major issues at work. I think our company’s hub was near the blast and was down for a very long time. I know I worked extra hours and they provided a lot of comfort snacks for everyone. There were these giant trays of cookies. I know this because I was on Weight Watchers and the trays were by my desk and my will completely broke. We found out some of our customers were in the towers and were killed. Even two Bank of New York employees had been in the towers and died although I didn’t know them.
I remember the news papers all having these amazing front page photos of the devastation. My grandparents collected them all and my mother has them today.
I don’t remember my parents saying much. I can't even tell you if they had the tv and news on.
I remember spending time with Ryan at his parent’s house and lighting a candle on their front deck one night.
I remember a lot of people mounted American Flags to their cars and trucks.
I remember video of Osama bin Laden stating that he didn't expect the towers to fall after being hit but that he was thrilled and thought it a blessing from his god that they did.
I remember stories over the radio that suspects were arrested in connection with the attacks. I remember strong feelings of demanding justice and excitement at the thought of vengeance just flowing through me.
I’m grateful that we haven’t experienced anything to this magnitude in the 12 years I’ve been on this earth since that day. With that said, I guess I feel safer but I think our world is still in very bad shape. I can’t say that I feel protected or shielded from evil like this in the world. Even now being a believer. But I do find a lot of comfort in my faith.