I don't remember when JFK was shot, or when Pearl Harbor was attacked, but I will always remember everything that happened on this date 8 years ago.
I am one of the fortunate ones. I didn't lose anyone I knew or loved, but like so many others I didn't know that for sure, not until some hours had passed.
My son was only 3 years old and my husband had left the day before on a business trip. We lived in the Oakland Hills at the time and I had a job as an administrative assistant about 6 miles away, not far from the Oakland Bay Bridge.
I was awakened by my clock radio, it was something about the World Trade Center being hit by a plane. I actually thought I was dreaming but then realized that it was really happening. I ran to the family room and switched on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit. I remember sitting down on the floor in shock and the realization that the world as I had known it had just changed forever.
My son was still sleeping when I called my husband in Arizona. He had just heard about it as well. We decided that I would stay where I was for now and continue my life as usual but that if I felt I needed to that I should go inland to stay with my parents and that he would try to get there as soon as he could.
My son came toddling into the room and I quickly turned off the TV but it was too late, he'd seen the replay of the plane hitting the building. He knew that his daddy was on a plane and it took some convincing and some words directly from my husband to calm him down.
I decided to drop my son off at daycare and then go into work, telling my boss that I was going to leave if I felt my safety was at risk. She agreed and half of the staff didn't even come in that day, they would have had to cross the Bay Bridge and they decided not to risk it.
It wasn't long after I arrived that we realized that we had employees and friends flying out to San Francisco from Boston that morning. There had been a wedding of a former employee over the weekend and some had stayed over for a couple of extra days. It was then that my day really got crazy. I had a list of missing people and we were all trying to track them down. I was getting calls from family members looking for their loved ones, and was thrilled when about 4:00 that afternoon I was able to announce that everyone was safe and accounted for. They were spread all over the country in different airports and Air Force bases, but they were OK.
I ended up staying at home that night, listening to the fighter jets circling the bay and holding my son as tightly as I could. None of us knew then what might happen, and today, along with my sadness at the loss of so many innocent lives, I also stop to appreciate all that I have.
After 9-11 I found some fabric I had of the Manhattan skyline with the Twin Towers. I don't remember buying it and it's still tucked away, waiting for me to get to the place where I can do something with it. Maybe one day I'll come up with an idea that's fitting, but for now I'll just let it rest in peace.
Lest we forget...