Where Were You?

Here is MY 9/11 experience...

My grandparents were getting ready to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on 9/9/01. I was living in Portland, OR at the time and Kathy had called and asked if I could come home for the occasion. Of course I said yes. I was going to be a surprise.

My trip was supposed to be from the 8th to the 12th. Just a long weekend. My roommate dropped me off at the airport on the morning of the 8th. It was a typical gray drizzly Portland morning. I remember this VERY clearly because while we were getting my bags out of the trunk there was a man running (literally) around and people were sort of stopped in the area waiting to see where he was going or what he was doing. He ended up running out of sight and I found my curbside check in and got in line with my bags.

A few minutes later I got shoved forward and into the person in front of me. I was instantly pissed off and whipped around. It was that same guy that had been running around moments earlier. The guy I got shoved into told him to watch it and the guy, of Middle Eastern descent, didn't seem to understand.

When I got to the front of the line, the man checking me in asked if we were travelling together (meaning the guy behind me who had shoved me). I explained that I didn't know who he was or why he was standing so close, but that we were definitely NOT travelling together. the man checking me in then yelled at the guy to back up and give people some space. I checked in and I was on my way to the gate.

I boarded, got to my seat, and we took off for Boston. You know after the plane takes off and then goes from facing skyward to being level again? Well, at that exact moment the shover from earlier stands up a few rows in front of me and on the opposite side!!!! OMG. The guy was acting so weird prior to this, and now he's heading to the bathrooms and he's all sweaty. I swear on my soul...this is a direct quote from that exact moment..."God, if this guy is going to hijack my plane please let him do it on the way back to Portland so I can see my family one last time." And then I said Hail Marys for the next 7 hours until we landed in Boston.

I will remind you, this happened to me on the 8th! We went about the weekend and my grandparents' anniversary. Then, it happened. I was sleeping in on the morning of the 11th, and my grandmother came into my old bedroom. I was still half asleep, but I will never forget her words. "Jessica! You need to get up! We are at war!" I got up at went into the living room where she was watching TV. She was crying and had her hand over her mouth...just shaking her head in disbelief. She kept saying "Who would do this to us?" And, the day went on and got worse and worse.

Like most of us, I can't really say what I was feeling then. Anger and sadness, of course...fear, vulnerable...patriotic. But, most of all, I do remember feeling so grateful that God had answered my prayer on the plane a few days earlier. He got me home safely so I could see my family. And, there was no place else on Earth I would rather have been at those moments in history.

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