I was sitting with the other girls in Women's Chamber Choir. Whether we were talking, warming up,or sight reading...that I don't remember. I do remember our principal's voice, Mr. Dallek, coming onto the PA system announcing the plane crashes that had already taken place. I remember the strange look on our teacher, Mr. Armstrong's face as he stared up at the speaker box and listened.
I remember thinking it was strange...what a coincidence that multiple planes crashed. Are the controllers failing? We moved on with class and I went to lunch where my friend George sat silently, a look of devastation on his face. He was a New Yorker.
"What's wrong?" I asked anyway. Surely he didn't know anyone who had been harmed.
"Our country is under attack!" He exclaimed.
I should mention I was 16. I had just turned 16 the week before and I was quite naive. That's silly, I thought. Who would want to or be stupid enough to attack America?
The day went on and parents were pulling their kids from school. I was pulled out for a different reason: an appointment with my eye doctor. My mom was late, and I tried reaching her by the payphone outside of the school. Except the line was busy. You couldn't call a soul.
She finally arrived, and we made our way to the local mall where LensCrafters was located. I think that's when I finally began to understand things were serious. Lights were out and most merchants had already closed and left for the day. It was maybe 1 p.m. I picked up my contacts; I was the last patient they saw before following suit.
If you didn't know, I grew up in Northern Virginia. Quantico is south of me, Ft.Belvoir and Ft. Myer to the north...as well as the Pentagon and our nation's capitol.
My youth group met that night. It probably should have been cancelled, but we met. The adults must have known people would need to talk...and pray. We learned that God was good as the plane hit the Pentagon in a section under construction. Many loved ones should have been in harm's way that day but weren't for one reason or another. One girl's dad was one story too high to be harmed and ran to his safety.
The day was over, but I remember it clearly, as I'm sure many of you do. The aftermath of that day continues for many families in one way or another. I grieve with you and I thank you.