So the Texas Gulf Coast has been evacuated. I'm sure you've all heard. It's all that the news anchors talked about all day yesterday in Houston and everyone was talking about it at work. The parking garage of our building emptied out pretty early (guess who was there til 5:30?!) and co workers talked about where they were going to go to ride out the storm. Our building even announced a mandatory closing for today and tomorrow. Can't get in. Not safe. Stay home.
I'll admit, this one seems a little more serious than the others. I've been watching the progress on the news and cripes--Ike looks like a bonafide motherfucker of a storm. I've mocked those that go through all the insanity that is preparing for a hurricane, but this time, I will raise my hand and stand up all, Hey you! Back there! Got any water you can hook me up with? Also, can I get some gas?
It wasn't until yesterday at 2pm that I realized how absorbed everyone was with tracking this hurricane. A co-worker and I were discussing what the plan was for work the next day and he looked over my shoulder out the window and asked, "Why are the flags at half-mast? Because of the hurricane?" I glanced behind me and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Yesterday was September 11th.
I could not believe I had completely neglected to recognize the date. Everyone was so frantic about the weather, even the news anchors that morning hadn't mentioned anything about the 7th year anniversary. I was flooded with guilt.
Most everyone can remember exactly what they were doing the moment they heard the news about the Twin Towers. I was leaving my first class of the day, my freshman year of college. I walked back to my dorm, still half-asleep, and noticed a group of students gathered in the lounge area, watching the news, talking about some sort of explosion in New York City. I remember thinking, I need to call Danielle, a friend of mine from high school that was at NYU. I walked past them all to my room to take a quick nap before my next class. My roommate came running in about 3 minutes later, screaming at me to turn on the tv and why wasn't I watching, didn't I hear what happened? We sat in our room for the next 2 hours and watched in complete disbelief. What the hell was going on?
I remember hearing someone say that Austin was a target for a bombing since the President's daughters went to school there. My boyfriend at the time was also at UT and I couldn't get in touch with him because the cell phone traffic was ridiculously maxxed out. Classes were canceled and lots of people went home to be with their families. I spoke with Danielle and she sent us terrifying photos she took FROM HER DORM ROOM WINDOW of the planes in the towers and the explosions and then the towers falling. For months, I couldn't look at those pictures without feeling like I was going to throw up.
I felt so ashamed yesterday that I hadn't thought once about the date. That I hadn't taken a moment yet to remember the images seen in the days and weeks and months following. Instead, I was wondering how I was going to flush my toilet should we lose water and how many days REALLY could I suffer eating canned meals should the electricity go out.
To all the men and women who fight each day to keep our country and our freedoms safe, thank you. This might be coming a day late, but I mean it with all of my heart when I say that you are all amazingly brave and selfless and I admire you. A million times, thank you.