Thursday, January 12, 2006

9/11

Dear Audrey,

Today I saw a bumper sticker with the date "9/11/01" on it. That was the day that terrorists tried to bring the USA to its knees. I'm sure you will read about it in history books when you're in High School. Terrorists hijacked 4 airplanes and managed to crash 3 of them into buildings, important buildings. The fourth one was prevented from crashing into a building, possibly the White House or Capitol, by some very brave passengers that forced the terrorists to fly it into the ground in a rural field in Pennsylvania. These people had heard what had happened to the other planes and they knew that they were probably going to die. But they weren't going to die without trying to stop the terrorists.

On 9/11/01, I was in Atlanta staying with you because your Mommy and Daddy were on a business trip in Seattle. They had gone to see Mommy's friend Allison while they were there - the Allison you were named for. I had taken you to Howell Academy that morning like you normally did. I was at your house - the one on Woodbine Hill Way - folding towels when Shannon called me, asking if I was watching TV. I wasn't, but quickly turned it on. I couldn't really understand what Shannon was trying to tell me because she was crying. All I could hear was something about a building collapsing.

As I realized what I was watching on TV, the second tower of the World Trade Center came crashing down. What was going on? The world seemed to be ending. All the smoke and fire on TV were scary. And then they were saying that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Shannon and I kept trading phone calls in disbelief.

Then your Mommy called. She had been in the fitness center at the hotel and had just started walking on the treadmill and was watching TV to pass the time. (And it was 6:30 in the morning in Seattle, so it was unusual that your Mommy was even up yet.) She was trying to figure out what was going on. The man that was in there before her hadn't really been paying attention so they had to watch a few minutes to realize what was going on. When she realized what was going on, she told me later that her first thought was getting to your Daddy and her next thought was getting to her baby.

She wanted to know where you were and I told her you had gone to "school" as usual. Did she want me to go get you so that I could keep you close and know you were OK. At this time, we didn't know what else was going to happen. All flights were being cancelled, but no one knew if there were still hijacked planes. We decided that I should let you stay at school because you would pick up on my fear and anxiety. I called Miss Sandy and she said that they would be there all day and that they were keeping the kids inside all day. So Mommy and I felt that you would be safe at school and you could play with your friends.

Like I said, all flights were being grounded. So your Mommy and Daddy managed to rent a car before they were all taken - remember it was early in Seattle, but people were scrambling to find transportation. They started driving that morning, I believe it was a Tuesday. I stayed in contact with your Mommy and Daddy, but they were worried that their phone batteries wouldn't last. And your Mommy kept saying that she just wanted to see her baby.

I stayed glued to the TV all day. I still couldn't believe what I was seeing on TV. The news kept playing the planes crashing in the buildings, and then the buildings crashing to the ground. They were afraid that tens of thousands of people had been killed when the buildings fell. As it turned out, over 3,000 people died, including some very brave policemen and firemen that were going into the buildings as others were trying to leave. These heroes were going in to save as many lives as they could.

When it was time for me to pick you up, I didn't feel like cooking so you and I went to Ruby Tuesday's to eat. It was almost empty in there. People were staying home. I was trying to play with you and keep one eye on the TV in the restaurant. And I was waiting to hear from your Mommy and Daddy to find out where they were staying for the night.

As it turned out, Mommy and Daddy drove non-stop for over 24 hours. They finally stopped the second night and got home on the third night. Your Mommy said she wanted her baby, you, and she wanted to get to you as fast as possible. Your Mommy was so glad to be home, but she was even more glad to be holding you and hugging you. And you were so glad to see Mommy as well.

I took the car that your Mommy and Daddy had rented and drove home to Houston that weekend. The planes were just starting to fly again and the airports were clogged with people that had been stranded since Tuesday

All of the networks and news stations stayed on this story for around 3 days non-stop. We didn't know who had done this and why. It took several weeks for the full story to become apparent.

I hope that you never have to go something like this again in your lifetime. And know that you were loved so much that your Mommy and Daddy drove clear across the country as quickly as they could to be with you and hold you and make sure you were truly safe.

And I love you that much, too.
Maggie

1 comment:

Stacey Jewell Stahl said...

This is priceless. More than the history books will ever tell her. I'm so proud of you, Maggie.