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September 11th

I gave blood at a Sept 11th blood drive today. This is the third year in a row I’ve done it. It’s my way of observing the day.

On September 11, 2001, I was sleeping in. I was unemployed, and had nowhere to be. My husband woke me up, he said planes had hit the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon. My first thought was a small, private plane like a Cessna. I literally could not picture someone using a passenger plane as a bomb.

So, my first reaction at being woken up was anger. And the thought that, “Now you’re going to tell me that storm out in the Atlantic was heading for Delaware.” So I got up, and came into the den with David. I watched the TV while he was on the internet, and AOL.

The news footage was shown on a continuous loop. To this day, I have no idea what I saw live, and what was footage. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. But as soon as they said the planes that were crashed, were headed for California, I knew it was deliberate. Because they’d be the most heavily fueled planes.

I was also a bit freaked out, because the day before, I was thinking about skyscrapers. And about how hard it would be to get out of them if something bad happened. I also thought about a program I saw on the History Channel about a plane hitting the Empire State Building in a heavy fog back in the 1940s. What weird things to be thinking about the day before such horrible events.

I did see the buildings collapsing. And just knowing that our world would never be the same again. 9/11 was the before/after event in so many peoples lives. It changed everything, from travel, to how we see the world. America no longer seemed so untouchable.

I checked my cell phone, and there was no signal. The internet still worked, but not the cell phones. Our house phone still worked (and this is why I still have a landline.) A few hours later, the cells worked again. I talked to an online friend who told me about trying to get out of Manhattan.

The reactions of people got to me. One regular from a chat room said that we should round up all Middle Eastern people in the U.S., and put them in concentration camps like the government did to Japanese Americans in World War II. I went off on him about that.

The most overwhelming reactions were shock and grief. Most of us had never witnessed terrorists attacks that effected us so closely. We didn’t know how to react. My friend’s uncle was in the Pentagon when it was hit. He got out alright.

In the days that followed, I remember thinking how it seemed so wrong that the weather was so beautiful. Clear skies, and cool temperatures. I would sit outside on my deck when I needed a break from the news. I could see, and hear the helicopters bringing the dead bodies from the Pentagon to the morgue at Dover Air Force Base. I cried.

I know the events of that day, and the days after changed everyone old enough to understand. To this day, I make of a habit of tell the people I care about, that I love them on a regular basis. You never know if you’ll ever get the chance to say it again.

I don’t understand the kind of hate that drives people to do such horrible things. And I am glad that I don’t have that kind of hate in me. I try to live a positive life. I try to treat everyone with respect. I choose love instead of hate.

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