“Hey babe- it’s me. We just heard that a plane crashed into one of the buildings in NYC. Can you hop online and let me know what’s going on?”
I was irritated that my husband of 3 weeks was calling me the morning of 9/11. My commute to work from Maryland to Virginia had taken me longer than normal that morning because of an accident and I was running behind. Chasing down a random rumor that the Hubs, then working at the White House, had heard wasn’t on my to-do list.
But my curiosity got the best of me so I started checking the news sites. It was still before 9 am ET, so most of the news sites only had a ticker across the top page stating that a plane did hit one of the World Trade Towers with scant details. I figured some poor pilot of a small plane had a heart attack or something and didn’t think much of it. I called the Hubs back and reported what little I knew and went about my morning.
Five minutes later, the Hubs called back. This time there was no mistaking the tension in his voice as he told me her heard that another plane hit the WTC. I still didn’t grasp the magnitude of what was happening. Terrorism never once crossed my mind until the plane hit the Pentagon. If a plane hit the Pentagon, what’s to say another one wasn’t heading for the White House?
The rest of the morning passed in a blur as I tried to reach the Hubs. I was lucky enough to connect with him a few times during the day, but it was sporadic. During one of our phone conversations soon after the Pentagon was hit, he told me that intelligence was reporting that a plane was coming for the White House. We did our best to say what we needed to just in case and then I prayed. There was nothing else I could do. At 10:03 am ET, the plane that very well may have been heading for my husband and all the rest of the people at the White House went down in Shanksville, PA.
I was lucky- after a 20 hour day at the White House, my husband came home to me that night. Sadly, the families of 2,977 people can’t say the same.
Ten years later, we remember those who lost their lives on that September morning. They were mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sister. Most were people going about their daily lives who had no idea what was about to happen, but others that lost their lives because they willingly went running into the disaster to try to help. Each and every one of them were heroes and all of them are missed.