Where Were You?

This morning, the words of Alan Jackson’s song haunted Steve and I. “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?” I’m sure, like us, you’ll never forget what you were doing when the unthinkable happened seven years ago on 9/11.

My parents’ generation remembers being huddled in front of the radio as FDR declared December 7, 1941 a “date which will live in infamy.” For us Baby Boomers, it’s JFK’s assassination. I was a first grader, sick at home, when my mother yelled to me to come watch so I would remember. I witnessed the President slumping onto Jackie’s pink suit again and again, while my mother cried. And then, just a few years later, I stood outside one July night squinting at the moon, hoping to see Neil Armstrong walk across it. All of us who lived near San Francisco in 1989 recall where we were at 5:04 PM on October 17, when the earth shook as the Bay Area teams played each other in the World Series.

The surreal image of the massive World Trade Center buildings crumbling is indelibly etched in all of our memories. Where were you? Steve called me from work as soon as he heard, very early in California. I could barely pry myself away from the TV to get to my own job as Acting Manager in a clothing store. Not one customer came in all day. My co-worker, Carolyn, and I listened to the radio as though we were in a trance. I walked home to get two small American flags to display proudly from our shop window. By mid-afternoon, all the stores in our shopping center had closed. I remember people on the freeway driving slower and being more courteous to each other for the next several weeks. We were a nation in shock, horrified by the evil we will never forget.

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