I will never forget the morning of 9/11. I was at work early, and I had just found out I won a "beautiful baby" contest at work. We had been bringing in our baby pictures for a summer's worth of contests and prizes, and I won the ultimate "beautiful baby" prize that morning. (We had been stuffed into terribly small and uncomfortable offices for a few months because of renovations being done, so the contests were a morale-booster. Especially for me!) I had also received a phone call letting me know I had gotten the lead female part in a play I had auditioned for the night before. For the first time in a very long time, my life was looking up. I said to my friend Shawna, "Well, I might as well go home now. Nothing else good is going to happen today."
Minutes later, our third officemate, Jen, came in and told us a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. We all imagined that it was a small plane with a terrible pilot. As everyone knows, things fell apart quickly after that.
I remember we all gathered around the one television we had in the theater, and watched the towers fall live. I remember someone saying, "It's like Hiroshima." It felt insane - I had been on the top floor of one of the World Trade Center towers during a field trip when I was young, and of course I saw them many times during trips to New York since then. All I could think of was all those people inside. I remember watching all of the state employees (who work around our building) evacuating and going home early, and watching the Capitol empty out. I remember feeling like a target, keeping my eye to the sky for planes.
It had been a particularly rough month for me personally. Four weeks earlier, my brother had been in a terrible car accident, leaving him in the ICU with brain contusions and broken everything for weeks. He had just been sent home days before, with a very long road of rehab ahead. Only two weeks before 9/11, I ended a long-term relationship. I was also in the middle of packing because I was set to move (yet again) on September 17. And all of this was not even a year and a half after my father died, as well as my uncle and a close friend.
So during a time it felt like my personal world was ending, it also felt like the entire world was ending too.
I know there are thousands whose lives were more directly and profoundly affected by 9/11 than mine was. But I will never forget it.