I was just graduating high school, I didnt have a care in the world- my biggest problem was the speeding ticket that I had to take care of in court that day. I remember it was a beatutiful day, I had my top down on the convertable of the mustang my parents purchased for me earlier that may. I went to pick up a friend down at my brothers house (which was literally in the same neighborhood as my house where I lived with my happy and healthy mom and dad.) I went to pick up ben who also had court that day. We went down to the dupage country federal courthouse where we awaited trial on our traffic tickets. It was 8am when we arrived at the courthouse and it was 9am at the time the trails were scheduled.
At 8:46 a.m., five hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center's North Tower (1 WTC)
8:45 am Ben and I head outside one last time before we have to go back into court for good. I call my father who is now on his way to work and ask him again what i say to the judge about my ticket. He tells me not to worry speeding is not a crime it happens to the best of us. tell the judge i am going to take whatever punishment nessisary and that i will learn not to drive 75 in a 40 again. I hang up the phone and head back into the courthouse. On the way in Ben and I pass a TV set where we see a plane crashed into a tower in NY (My first thought... stupid plane pay attention!) I was young and stupid, and had no idea what was about to unfold around me.
9:03 a.m. another five hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower (2 WTC)
its now 9:15am and court still has not started, I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket and see my dad is trying to call me. I ignore it (you arent allowed to have cell phones on in the courthouse) its been almost 10 mins and my mother and father have now tried to call me over 6 times.... court still hasnt started. we are sitting in the courthouse awaiting the trails to begin.
Five hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.[
10:00am I have 16 missed calls on my phone and court is now 1 hour late. I polietly left the courtroom and watlked into the hallway to see what was going on at home with my parents. I call my father at work.
me: "dad whats going on?"
dad: "get the hell out of that courthouse something is going on"
me: "what are you talking about?"
dad: "leave listen to me! Leave that federal building IMMEDIATELY DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME! take ben and go home"
me: 'What!? hold on mom is calling too"
I switch over to take my moms phone call and red lights start blinking all around me. sirens are going off almost sounding like a fire alarm my first instinct is that im in trouble for being on the phone. The courthouse doors open and people that were awaitng court just like i was come flooding out of the courtrooms including ben i look at him with confusion.
Mom: "michelle we are under attack your father is trying to get ahold of you. get out of the courthouse"
me: "we are leaving"
Ben tells me that we are being evacuated and everyone calmly walks to thier cars.
A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, under the control of four hijackers, eventually crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m. after the passengers fought the hijackers. Flight 93's ultimate target is believed to have been either the Capitol or the White House. Flight 93's cockpit voice recorder revealed crew and passengers attempted to seize control of the plane from the hijackers after learning through phone calls that similarly hijacked planes had been crashed into buildings that morning. Once it became evident to the hijackers that the passengers might regain control of the plane, one hijacker ordered another to roll the plane and intentionally crash it. Soon afterward, Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville.
I get out to me car and the reality of it all still hasnt sunk in. I call my best friend Jamie to see whats going on and she hadnt seen any news yet. she tells me that shes going to watch the news and call me back. in the mean time I took ben all around to look for a job. we drove to warrenville to apply at a couple local mechanics, and then headed back toward the house where jamie came over later that day.
Throughout the day I dont think ive ever said. "have you seen the news" so many times. I remember talking to all the people that mattered to me that day.. Brian in california, siobhan (my n'sync loving friend :) who lived in NY her father worked in the trade centers and made it out alive thank god. Siobhan helped me thru a really tough time in my life, and to this day still think about her all the time. I spent the rest of my day with Jamie my best friend we spent everyday together that summer of graduation and almost everyday since then. :)
My husbands memories of 9/11 are different... at the time we werent together, or dating. But he was telling me how he remembers the F16's flying all over chicago. He works construction so at the time he had no idea what was going on working outside makes it hard to stay on top of the media.... so hes working at the first bomber flys over..... then 30 mins later 2 more fly over chicago... he decides to get down off the roof and turn on the radio, where he started to hear is all unfold. F-16's are very powerful fighter jets. they are loud when they fly over, and they are very very noticeable in a rural chicagoland neighborhood. When you see them you know its because there is a problem. They flew those F-16s over chicago for a solid year after that... just patroling the skys waiting and watching to protect us.
later that evening My family, my brother and his friends, and jamie all went to dinner at sandpiper. I had a chili boat, and had a great evening loving the people around me. I remember talking about what a great day me and ben had (we were happy because our tickets got thrown out!) and had some laughs together running around all day. it never dawned on me at that time that this day would change history as we know it.
9/11 was a tragity, its terriffying, and i was alive to see it happen. Some people know the cold war, or pearl harbor, or korea... those wars are just something out of a history book for me. but 9/11 is real. it happened to me, and I was around to watch it unfold before me. now that im older and can see the magnitude of what happened it hits me harder each year. I cried when we killed bin laden, it hit me like a ton of bricks. WE DIDNT PICK THIS WAR, WE DIDNT DO THIS.... BUT WE WILL END IT.
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the
Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty
and justice for all."