Where Were You?


I was living in Holland, Michigan, and working at Mahle Valve Train. One of my co-workers received a phone call from a family member telling him about the first attack, and another one found a radio so we could all listen to the news. We were glued to the internet and listening to the radio as the second airplane crashed into the second tower. It was all surreal.

In this song by Alan Jackson, one of the lines asks, “Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?” Yes, that was the first thing I did. My parents had bought a place close to my home and were planning to retire there in a couple years. Mom was homeschooling Sam and spent half her time there and half her time in Texas. I’m so thankful she happened to be in Michigan that day! I called her several times because there is no one like Mom to give comfort during a tragedy.

Although Sam was only five years old, he seemed to grasp what was going on. From the conversations we’ve had, I know he has vivid memories of that day. I can’t imagine how terrifying it was for a little child.

I didn’t know anyone in New York, but I had a friend working in Washington, D.C., in a building across the street from the Pentagon. When I heard about the airplane that crashed there, I began calling, and kept calling and calling, until I knew my friend was okay.

Another line in the song asks, “Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger?” Sort of. I went to my church, and my church family stood in a large circle around the sanctuary, holding hands and praying. We prayed for our country, for those hurt in the attack, for the families who lost loved ones, for the rescue workers, and for our government. I will never forget the looks on the faces of those assembled in prayer that evening, the looks of horror, anger, determination.

In the summer of 2003, I was privileged to go to New York City with my Aunt Kitty. As we stood there at Ground Zero, I felt the same emotions I did on September 11, 2001. I feel those feelings again today. I hope 9/11 never becomes cliche. I hope we, as Americans, never forget.


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