I remember exactly where I was ~ the moment is frozen in time in my head. I was in our basement in Louisville, Kentucky talking to Stan on the phone when the first tower fell. All I could think was “Oh, shit…”
Stan was in San Francisco on business. Zach was a kindergartener, away at school. Lucas was with me and Claire was in her crib. I wanted all of us together in those terrifying moments of 9-11. I wanted to go scoop Zach up from school and hold him close. I went and plucked Claire out of her crib. I snuggled Lucas close. I asked Stan to fly home immediately ~ what we soon learned was there would be no air traffic for an undetermined amount of time. As I sat watching the coverage of what was unfolding my heart ached for every wife who lost her husband, every husband who lost his wife, every child who lost their parent, every parent who lost their child and every friend who now mourned the loss of so many innocent lives taken from us that fateful day in September of 2001. Tears poured down my face for all of those who lost so much. My mind turned to thoughts of never seeing Stan again.
What if San Francisco was targeted? What if, what if, what if…
I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed for the safety of not only Stan but the safety of all of those who worked tirelessly to protect us from more harm. Stan spent nine years in the military but I never feared for his well being like I did in the days following the attacks masterminded by Osama bin Laden. I begged Stan to rent a car and drive home from San Francisco. His response was a deadpan “Have you looked at a map?” I knew it was foolish but I didn’t care. I didn’t want him on a plane. I just wanted him home. The day before his flight was due to fly out of San Francisco I was in the rocking chair nursing Claire. I remember looking down at this little baby Stan and I brought into the world and my heart nearly shattered wondering if I would ever see his face again, wondering if my children would get to hug their daddy. I begged God to bring Stan home safely to me. I know it was selfish when so many others had lost so much but I couldn’t help myself. As I sat asking and begging for the life of my husband I saw two hands cupping a plane and bringing it home ~ to me. I saw the hands of God bringing Stan’s plane home. Relief washed over me. I knew, without a doubt, Stan would be safe. His plane was the first plane to fly after the attacks and the only plane to fly the day he was due to come home. My prayers were answered with the safe return of my husband. There were still so many other prayers to be answered for others.
Stan is traveling again today. He is flying to San Francisco, of all places. My prayers will be fast and furious for the safety of all of those who are traveling and going about their business in these days, weeks and months after Osama bin Laden’s death.
I wish I could say I didn’t wish Osama bin Laden harm in the time since he attacked the pentagon and the twin towers fell but I would be lying. I wanted bin Laden to pay for his sins and his crimes against the United States of America. Whether I wished him dead or not, I can’t say. I don’t think the death penalty shows us to be the most compassionate of countries but bin Laden was not a compassionate man. Bin Laden was a man who sole focus in life was preventing his own death while ensuring the deaths of so many others. His last act of cowardice leave me speechless. He used his wife as a shield so she would perish while he could go on to inflict death and destruction on so many others. He was a evil man who, I hope, is now sitting somewhere in Hell with Hitler.
Do you remember where you were on that fateful day?
I hope we never forget. I hope we never forget the bond we, as a country, forged in those horrible days after 9-11. We were the most united of states. We became a family whose home had just been attacked. We came together and we stood defiant in the face of cowardice and evil. We were, and still are, the United States of America. May God bless our soldiers who keep us safe, those who lead our country and all those who call this great nation home. To me, it is for the love of our children we defend our country…
“I never wished a man dead but I read some obituaries with great pleasure.” ~ Mark Twain