Monday, May 2, 2011

Where were you when?

May 1, 2011....the day the United States finally succeeded in killing Public Enemy Number One, Osama Bin Laden.  Brave Navy Seals invaded his compound outside Islamabad, Pakistan, and shot him in the head before taking custody of his body. Nearly 10 years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we finally got him and provided justice for the countless citizens and soldiers whose lives were forever changed.

The date provides another example of "Where were you when?" and never being able to forget the answer. Where was I?  Sitting on my couch, watching Adam Richman in Pittsburgh on the show Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel.  Nothing exciting.  I checked my Twitter feed on my phone and saw the CNN tweet that stated the President was going to make a statement to America at 10:30pm Eastern time.  I thought this odd, particularly since it was a Sunday night and the White House was releasing no details of the statement subject. A couple more news media tweets came through with the same information and I told Greg that we should probably turn on CNN.  Well before the President ever made his official statement it known that it was in regard to Osama Bin Laden finally being killed. JUSTICE.

In the hours since the announcement it's made me think of the day nearly 10 years ago when our country literally stopped in shock and tragedy. Where was I when I heard the news? Greg and I were driving to San Jose International Airport so he could travel to Phoenix for the day on business. It was very early...before 6am Pacific time....when the radio DJs made mention of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. At first Greg and I were thinking it was just a small plane and that the guy had to be a pretty bad pilot to hit a building like the WTC.  By the time we arrived at the airport we discovered that it was likely a commercial airline and a much bigger plane than what we thought.

Once we got to Greg's gate (oh, remember the days when you could go to the gate even when you weren't the one flying?), we heard much more information from the airport personnel.  They were now calling it a terrorist attack. And both towers had been hit by planes. I started crying. I called my parents to find out more and during that phone conversation, a plane hit the Pentagon. "Oh, my God" was all I could think in those moments of absolute fright.Who was doing this to us?

It wasn't long after this that the airport personnel announced that the airport would be closing indefinitely, that there would be no flights going out at all.   Greg and I drove back home, deeply sad, incredibly frightened about what was next.  During that car ride the first tower of the WTC buildings was gone? Are you serious?? We couldn't get our TV on fast enough once we arrived home. At the exact moment the TV turned on, the second tower fell. I was so incredibly emotional and couldn't keep the tears from coming.

I was also 5 months pregnant with our first child.

For the next two days I barely left the house, but instead was glued to the television, watching all the coverage. A deep hatred formed for those responsible. An incredible anxiety brewed inside me over how evil people could be. I mourned for those who died and grieved with those who lost loved ones. I didn't know anyone personally who died, but that didn't matter.  Our entire country was in mourning. This entire time, I had a baby inside me squirming uncontrollably, probably due to my deep anxiety. I developed some guilt over bringing a child into such an evil world...not that there was anything I could possibly do about that. But the guilt was there regardless.

Now that Osama Bin Laden is gone, a relief definitely exists. It doesn't end our war on terror - that will always be there. There will be someone to take his place. But in the meantime we can still rejoice in his death, however odd it sounds to actually welcome someone's death. As the President said last night, "his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity."

Greg's boarding pass from his flight on 9/11/01

Never forget

Pentagon Memorial in Virginia - read about the Memorial here


  1. Here I go again with my comment on this… :)

    I will never forget where I was when I found out about 9/11. I was just arriving to my on-campus job (at LSU) after leaving my 7:30AM – 8:30AM class. My on-campus job just happened to be as a computer programmer at The Academy for Counter-Terrorist Education (ACE), which is a joint effort between LSU and the Department of Defense. (ACE is now called the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training. It was renamed that after increased funding to the program after 9/11.) ACE taught courses to first-responders on how to deal with biological warfare and biological attacks. Anyway, every television was on and everyone was completely silent. I swear I thought my coworkers were all watching a terrible movie. Before I knew it, our phones started ringing off the hook. Every level of the government wanted to know what our office did and who we taught. Within an hour, the FBI was calling because they told us that it was possible that one of the men responsible for the terrorist attacks (or more) could have taken some of our courses. They could potentially use our education against us. I was furious and saddened by everything.

    Bin Laden’s death is just the first step in restoring peace and bringing our troops home. The next few days are crucial and I’m anxiously waiting to see if there are any other attempts. I fear that a man like that had plenty of plans in place should he be assassinated. Now it’s a waiting game.

    I’m praying for the best.

  2. Wow, Katie...that is so intense! Thank you for sharing

  3. I found out on Twitter and I thought it was a joke. But, twitter always finds out first. I had no idea Greg had to fly out on 9/11! You would've been freaked if he was in the air when this happened. Wow. I remember I was at work in Boston, and we also thought it was a joke at first. A small plane. Then someone got a tv and once the towers fell it was incredibly devastating. Never felt that helpless. Awful. Let's hope that since we cut off the head, the beast dies. Congrats on your blog, girl! So excited for you. It's mighty pretty!