We were there when everyone from Maine to California said it was a beautiful day to fly. One of those clear days that gives a lie to coming events.
We were flying for business reasons
We were flying for a deserved vacation
We thanked God we had not flown today
We were there when someone announced something we did not quite understand, something that would be new and different and troubling.
We quietly waited to find out what would happen
We joined others thinking to take back what we did not know had been lost
We remembered all those horror stories and felt reassured in our vague fear of flying
We were there to appreciate the unbelievable view from the Bastilles. Few before noticed how far you can see on a clear, beautiful day as they pass through on way to somewhere else.
We sat at a desk absorbed by the day's tasks
We stopped by the break room for some coffee
We feared what it might be like to work in a big building in a big city
We were there before we understood the world had changed and we could never go back, when as always there was one more thing to do.
We called home, leaving a message of love
We helped someone we'd never met before that day
We prayed for people we did not know and can never meet
We were there when radio and TV from Taneytown to Terre Haute to Tucson interrupted with Special Report just in: An airplane, size unknown, had crashed into some building in New York.
We ran to avoid the falling dirt, debris, the bodies and buildings
We knew someone who fell, knew no one who fell, knew everyone
We watched TV until we couldn't remember what was live and what was repeated
We were there in far away as Indiana when no one knew how to respond, when an odd sense of controlled panic gripped us -- a grip on a nation never loosed entirely since.
We closed businesses in fear of something, somewhere
We stayed at our post, somehow unwilling to be defeated
We went home and hugged our husbands, wives, children, anyone
We were there when no none airplanes, none watching on TV, none living in small towns across the continent knew of how many trillions of dollars would be expended because of that day.
We routinely handed photo ID to the guard
We checked pockets before going through the metal detector
We watched with suspicion perfectly innocent people as they went about their lives
We didn't know it for awhile, but the world before that day would never come back. Future generations with no memory of life before that beautiful day to fly will not know why life is as it has come to be afterward. Seeing only a remote event and not our common experience, they'll accept life as it now is.
We were there.