Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering September 11th

Where were you five years ago?

A week before September 11th, my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I were in Calendonia, New York--an hour east of Buffalo, NY--for her grandfather's wedding. We had arrived there a week before to visit the beautiful areas of western New York state.

During our trip, we were able to visit Niagara Falls, Canada. Security on the U.S.-Canadian border was extremely tight. My mother-in-law--who is originally from there--even commented on the security. It was even more tighter coming back from Canada. Something odd was definitely in the air.

That odd feeling was apparent the day before September 11th. Our return flight to Austin was September 10th from Buffalo, New York. My wife and I thought about going to New York City instead that morning; before the 9/11, changing flight tickets was extremely easy.

We arrived at the Buffalo airport early. Security was tight that morning. We thought it was unusually tight since it was six in the morning. Security were patrolling around cautiously.

We proceeded through security and made our way to our gate. We noticed a lot more police officers walking around the terminal than when we arrived to Buffalo a week before.

We decided to check out the airport gift shop before arrive at our gate. I decided to get two NYPD caps, more because of the TV show; I couldn't fathom or imagine that the following day those caps would be remembered for something totally different. At that point I noticed police officers walking into the gift shop observing the shoppers. Personally, I thought they were expecting me to steal the caps. I bought the caps and we proceeded to our gate.

We boarded our plane, and got to Austin safely. When I got to my car, I received a call from my dad that my mother was in the hospital. He said that I needed to come down to see her before she went into surgery. That afternoon, I got to my apartment, packed another suitcase, and drove down to McAllen, Texas.

The next morning, I woke up and turned my TV to Good Morning America. The programming was the usual. I got in the shower, came out, and got dressed. Diane Sawyer interrupted an interview to report an airplane accident at the World Trade Center. The first plane had crashed into one of the WTC towers. As she was reporting this, the other plane hit the other tower. Diane Sawyer was horrified. This was no accident. It was an attack.

My wife called me to tell me the news. We both were scared. My parents were afraid too. We could only think of the worst. Who did this? Why? Will it continue?

September 11th will always be remembered as the day life changed for ALL of us.

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