I can’t tell you what I wore to work last Wednesday. I can’t tell you what I had for dinner Thursday night. But I can tell you that 11 years ago this morning I was in the shower listening to Danny and Jamie on the radio, a normally outlandish talk show. It was around 6 am and a beautiful morning in Los Angeles. As the music stopped I realized that Jamie was crying. They said that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. At first I thought it might be a hoax but something in their voices told me that it was real. I jumped out and ran to the tv and watched the smoke billow from the tower. I fell into a heap on the couch. Oh my god. I heard the tv talk about an accident, possibly a terrorist attack…I couldn’t believe the latter. I went to my sisters room and woke her up. I think I woke up my other roommates too. I returned to the tv just in time to see the 2nd plane hit. I cried and cried. The words hijacked and terrorism now rung across the air waves. This was not happening, I thought. Who could do this? I watched people jump to their deaths. I saw people racing down the sidewalks for their lives. I remember they were covered in ash. My heart broke over and over again.
The local news issued alerts for Los Angeles saying the planes were headed here. Panic spread that our city was the next target. I called my mom and told her we were okay. My roommates didn’t go to work that day but I did. I remember being on the normally chaotic 101 freeway. There were no horns, no music blaring, no one road raging and screaming obscenities. It was dead silent. With my window down all I could hear were the voices on the radio talking about Flight 11, Flight 175, Flight 93, Flight 77…I could see and hear people crying. Everyone was in shock. Everyone was watching the sky.
They closed down the studios and businesses in high rises in LA. They closed down the airport. My boss still thought we should work through the day. I told him that if I was going to die today, it will be at home with my sister and my friends, not in a tiny recording studio in Hollywood. I left and went home to cry and watch the news and ask questions that had no answers and scream at God in my head and then pray for those that were involved.
I will never forget that day. As long as I live. The fear that beat through our hearts. The way we jumped when we heard a plane fly overhead. The deafening silence when all the planes stopped flying. It was a day that changed everything. Not only am I a long ways from my former life in LA, but I’m no longer the girl I was that day either. I guess remembering the event today kind of puts things in a really harsh perspective. I didn’t lose anyone I loved directly that day but I felt so empty for a long time. So today I want to be grateful and thankful for the life and blessings around me. The incredible love that I wake up to each morning, the chances I’ve been given to make a better life for myself and my family and the knowledge that each day I strive to be a little better than the last. Time is short. Nothing is promised. Count your blessings. Live each day to the fullest. Honor the victims. Help those less fortunate. Shine and be brilliant.