The Day The Earth Stood Still

September 11, 2001 changed the world and it changed our lives.

When DH’s subway car was stuck between stops, he thought little of it. This happens frequently in New York and he had plenty of time. When he emerged from underground, he realized it would be no ordinary day.

All he could find out was that there had been an explosion, possibly a crash, at one of the World Trade Center Towers, a few cross town blocks away. So, he went to work. A side note–why do men walk towards danger?

When he got to work, the second plane had hit and the office told everyone to go home. DH was walking the 50 or so blocks home when the first tower fell. Covered with debris, he continued to walk North.

Meanwhile, I was up in Westchester, teaching a class. When the class finished, another teacher informed me of the morning’s events. I watched the first tower fall on TV and realized that I didn’t know which subway line my husband took to work. For hours, I waited for his phone call. I continued to teach but kept my cell phone nearby. My students asked, “Do you know anyone downtown?” I said that I knew several people and that my husband worked in the area. They asked why I was still here and I responded that since I couldn’t do anything to help him right now, my place was with them. Then, the phone rang–a 212 (NYC) area code!

DH called me on a pay phone to reassure me that he was okay and I passed the word onto his parents. The trains into Manhattan were cancelled so I stayed with my parents that night. DH called that afternoon to tell me he had reached the apartment and changed his clothes–and was heading back downtown!

DH was determined to help in the relief efforts. He walked from site to site, offering to help. Finally he ended up at Chelsea Piers helping the doctors who were working triage.

I believe that night he became more determined to serve his country in the Army. Throughout college and law school he had explored serving in ROTC but neither campus offered that option; traveling to another campus would have taken over his schedule. When he stopped raising the subject, I thought the time for him to sign up for active duty had passed. Now I realize he had never let go of the idea.

DH might have joined the Army anyway, or signed-up for the reserves, but the events of 9/11 made certain that the Armed Forces would be our path.

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