I was working for the City of South Bend. Just after the first plane hit the towers, I was called in to the lounge. We had a tiny little t.v. playing in the break room. My office was right by the lounge so I was in there almost instantly, but it wasn't long before our whole office was crammed in this tiny space. The news casters were trying to figure out what went wrong with the flight and how they could go so far off course. We were all holding out hope that it was a freak accident until the second plane hit. I still remember the room full of horrified gasps as we all watched that second plane hit and suddenly realized this wasn't an accident. The horror continued as we watched the chaos and then the unforgettable moment when the first tower fell. It was like being punched in the gut.
No one knew what to do next. I had a meeting scheduled at a neighborhood center for 10:30. It was a long drive (although only a few miles away) as I listened to the radio. Luckily the center had a t.v. The one person who showed up sat there with me as I watched all the coverage. I remember feeling terrified at the realization that life had changed forever. I couldn't reach any one via cell phone. I tried desperately to call my parents to tell them that I love them. We had no clue what would happen next and I felt so alone.
That afternoon the 12-story County-City Building closed. We were in a small building across the street, so our office didn't close. Instead, the Mayor and department heads from the other building all moved and took up temporary home in our office. A coworker and I decided to get out for a minute to get a snack. We walked a couple blocks down town to our normal coffee hang out. Every thing was closed. The streets were empty. Signs in the windows said, "Closed to spend time with our families." It was like a deserted town. The uneasy feeling just grew and grew.
The years have passed. Some of those memories have faded, but we have not forgotten. I remember thinking how great it was that our country came together. There was red, white, and blue every where. It actually saddens me that the united front of our country faded so quickly. I wish people showed their pride all year long. I guess the best place to start is at my own house. Time to buy a new bracket for the flag and give it its rightful place on the front of our house. I hope every one else would do the same - not just on 9/11 or the 4th of July, but every day the sun shines.