Ten years ago today, I started my day at my desk in my cubicle in a pod of cubicles in the Worcester law firm of Bowditch & Dewey. It was a long time ago and I’m sure my memory is a bit hazed by shock and grief and age, but it really was just a normal, beautiful day in New England…nothing auspicious, nothing particularly noteworthy.
I hadn’t been working long when one of the secretaries a couple of pods away stood up and said that she had just heard on the radio that there had been plane that had accidentally crashed into the World Trade Center. My first thoughts were that she was referring to Boston’s World Trade Center, and the goosebumps came up on my arms…my husband, who worked out of Boston, was getting on a plane to go to the NYC office…I knew he would be on the shuttle and that he normally flew out of Logan Airport on the 7:30 or 8am shuttle. All I could think in that instant was that my husband’s plane had crashed into Boston’s World Trade Center. Then the secretary blurted out that it hadn’t been an accident, that the plane had been hijacked and had flown into one of the towers of the NY World Trade Center. This didn’t help much, as that meant that hus could have been on the earlier flight and it still could have been his plane. I had no radio at my desk, but found an online station and plugged in my headphones. I sat glued to the stories, unable to move. It soon became apparent that it wasn’t my husband’s shuttle, that it was a large airliner which had left from Logan headed for LA. Then I heard that hus was fine, that his flight hadn’t left Boston, that it had been readying for take-off when it had suddenly been grounded. I felt such relief. Then I felt so sad…so so sad. We moved into the firm’s conference room, where there was a TV set up, and watched in horror as planes flew into buildings, buildings belched smoke, people were falling and papers were flying through the air like ticker tape. Time stood still…we could not turn away. After verifying that ALL my family members were safe, I watched and listened to the whole story unfold…I don’t think I was away from TV or radio for days.
Hus ended up working out of Logan for a few days, feeding information to his office in NYC and just doing whatever needed to be done on the ground in Boston. Time really warped…I have no real memory of what happened when…it just happened and kept happening…it never stopped happening. And life has never been the same.
I have to admit that the overwhelming emotion for me now when I think of those days is sadness…sadness for the loss of life, loss of innocence, loss of a sense of personal safety. I have never gotten mad. Too sad to be mad. Had I lost someone in the horror in NYC or the Pentagon or in that field in Pennsylvania, I might feel differently. I don’t think I would. Does that make me unpatriotic? I certainly don’t think so.