As we approach the 10 year Anniversary of September 11, I am having difficulties keeping back the memories I have of this day and the day before. My blog is titled September 10, 2001 because the things I did that day would have never happened if I had been a day later.
On September 10, 2001, I was driving, with my 2 boys (David, who had just turned 3 and Michael who was almost 1) from Michigan to Illinois. I am having trouble remembering if this is the trip that Grandma Bohn went on with us. Grandma Bohn was Chris’ grandmother. She was my boys’ Great-Grandmother and she adored them. I think that this was the trip that she went on with us for 2 reasons. First, I would not have been stupid enough to drive with two little ones to Michigan by myself. And second, I did not take many trips to Michigan while Grandma Bohn was alive.
We had spent a few days in Michigan visiting my brother, his wife and daughter and Chris’ Aunt and Uncle. I really don’t remember much about the trip. I remember the drive (there was a McDonald’s that was on the Skyway that I remember, but I think that I remember it for other reasons – we were stopped there going to Michigan when I got the call that Grandma Bohn had died and we turned around to go back to Illinois), but not much else. It was a Monday and the roads were fairly empty. We made good time.
We would have left Michigan in the morning and it was a 5 1/2 hour drive, so we would have arrived at home before dinner. I remember bringing in the suitcases and all the stuff and just leaving it in the hall outside of the laundry room (to deal with the next day).
On September 11, I didn’t know anything had happened until my mom called me. David was quite precocious and would watch the news and ask questions, and since this wasn’t usually appropriate, I stopped watching the news. When my mom called, I thought she was joking. Of course, she wasn’t. I remember that I was sitting on the floor in the hall outside the laundry room sorting laundry and Michael was with me. We went upstairs and turned on the TV.
David was instantly attracted to the TV and I couldn’t turn it off because I wanted to know what was going on. I remember David saying, “Why is the plane hitting the building?” And I replied, “It was a horrible accident.” But it wasn’t. At the time, because I didn’t know about the second plane, I really thought it was a horrible accident. I could not grasp that someone deliberately flew 2 planes into the Twin Towers. It was beyond my realm of experience: terrorism was not something that I thought of in this country, it was something that happened in the Middle East.
I remember thinking that it was a good thing that we had left Michigan the day before. If we hadn’t we would have been stuck somewhere. I am certain that the Skyway would have been closed. I remember thinking that we would have never made it home if we had been a day later and that since I would have been driving (and not listening to the news and only having a cell phone for emergencies) I wouldn’t know what was going on.
I remember feeling safe in our town in Zion, Illinois and thinking that we were so unimportant that no one would target us. And I remember feeling that I couldn’t or shouldn’t turn off the TV even though the boys were watching and listening. For a long time afterwards, David asked questions about the plane hitting the building. They were difficult to answer, to say the least.