I lived near Seattle Washington at the time, and had a new baby girl. Gabriella was five months old, and Bubblehead worked for an airline catering company, so he was near SeaTac, and often made trips to the terminal and the planes.
I woke up that morning to the phone ringing, somewhere in the neighborhood of 7:00 am. (Remember we were 3 hours behind the East Coast). It was Bubblehead. He said something to the effect that both towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been hit by planes. I believe my first reaction was "this is big". He was on his way into work, and would talk to me later. I hung up the phone and went out to the family room to turn on the TV. I didn't watch long before the North Tower fell.
I cried. I worried a little bit about Bubblehead, but I knew all the flights had been grounded, and there would be no catering of planes that day. Still there was plenty of work for him to do - he would be gone all day.
I spent the entire day in front of the TV. I don't remember now if I got myself showered and dressed. I was so thankful that Ella was only a baby, so that I could watch the coverage uncensored, and so that I wouldn't have to explain to her what had happened.
I watched with tears in my eyes as person after person showed their homemade fliers, all searching for someone they loved - someone most likely they would never see again. I remember thinking to myself that the very least I could do for them was to watch, and listen to their pleas, even though I could do nothing more.
The following Saturday Seattle had a huge makeshift memorial set up at Seattle Center, and Bubblehead and I took our baby daughter downtown and rode the monorail over to pay our condolences, and mourn with the rest of the country. I sat with Ella in the stroller and watched hundreds of people lay their flowers near Friendship Fountain, normally a large empty area where kids run around on hot days to cool off. Now the cement could hardly be seen for all the flowers. Bubblehead took pictures with the fountain centered, Ella and I (our backs turned to the camera) in the foreground, and the Space Needle watching high overhead. I wish I could share that picture with you here, but my scanner isn't working.
Over the last year or so the subject of 9/11 has come up between Ella and I when she caught me watching a documentary on it. She asked about it, and I told her simply that there were these two huge buildings in New York, and that one day they fell, and many, many people died and were hurt. She didn't have many questions, and pretty much left it at that. I figured I'd let her have more time before she learns how and why it all happened. On September 11th, 2001 my world changed. I know now that I'm not necessarily safe here in the US like I always felt before. I never felt "not safe" before that day. And even though I don't live my life in fear, it's always there in the background. It always will be. For my children, they still live their lives feeling safe - that Mommy and Daddy can protect them for absolutely everything. Once that feeling is gone, you can't get it back. I don't intend to take them from them - not right now.
To all those who lost their lives that day, and to all those who lost someone that day; to all those fighting overseas today because of what happened that day - I will never forget.