Five years ago, at 7:57, I was sleeping. It was a Tuesday morning and I had decided to skip Women's Bible Study. I had a school project to finish, my first big project of library school. It was a survey of the journals in the school's collection. So I awoke to the radio telling me something about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. It didn't make sense to anyone, but eventually I caught on that this was too weird to stay in bed listening to the radio. I got up and turned on the TV. After being transfixed by what I was watching for a few minutes, I knocked on Sally's door. She was still asleep, so I let myself in (yes, at that time we all kept our doors unlocked.) I shook her gently and told her what was going on. She told me on our road trip last week that she will never forget me doing that. We turned on the TV and must have eaten breakfast. I honestly don't remember much of the details. What I remember is that downtown Pittsburgh was evacuated because there was news of a plane heading for Pennsylvania. Well, there are a lot of tall buildings in Pittsburgh. So we watched on TV, all the people going home. Everyone was given permission to do so. School was cancelled because there is one very tall building in Oakland, where the University of Pittsburgh has its main campus.
I remember reading in a book about how when John F. Kennedy died, people couldn't get through by phone for three days because everybody else was on the phone.
I knew someone who worked in a building near the Pentagon. I couldn't get through to her. I couldn't get through to my parents.
So Sally and I sat, with her son, A, and watched TV.
Later in the day, I walked down to the newspaper vending box and bought the afternoon edition, the first time in my memory that there had been such a thing.
I don't have any more personal stories. I don't know anyone who died. I have since met people while traveling that were meant to be there on that Tuesday and for whatever reason changed their plans.
I couldn't listen to Christmas music that year.
The image at the top of this post is of a wonderful children's book that won the prestigious Caldecott award for illustration. It's called The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
by Mordicai Gerstein. I've seen the videorecording of the book done by Weston Woods and it is phenomenal. It is the story of a daring man who tightroped between the Twin Towers soon after it was built.
Jessamyn put together a great list of links re: 9-ll. They are here.