September 10th, 2001, I was in Boston with my husband and 14 month old son. We'd been visiting my husband's family and friends in New England but we were finally headed home. The first leg of our flight took us from Boston to New York and then we would be on our way back home to Virginia. When we landed in New York, however, we were told that our connecting flight had been canceled due to thunderstorms in the area. The airline was nice enough to put us up in a hotel and asked which flight we'd like in the morning. I told Eric I'd like to sleep in and take the later flight around 9:00am but he was ready to get home and we opted for the earlier flight at 7:30am. So, on the morning of September 11th 2001, I boarded a plane in New York with my husband and young son. I remember sitting by the window with John in my lap. He hadn't slept well the night before and was dozing with his head on my shoulder. After takeoff the plane turned over the water and out of my window I had a complete view of the New York skyline. I remember seeing the twin towers with the early morning sun reflecting off of them. There seemed to be a bit of a golden haze over the city and I remember thinking that when viewed from the right perspective even a big city can be beautiful. I didn't know it at the time but a little more than an hour later the skyline that I'd just been admiring would be destroyed forever. After we landed and got our baggage we took a taxi home. When we got back to our house I finally remembered to turn my cell phone back on. There were 4 or 5 messages from my mom left in the last 15 minutes or so. I called her back and she was the one who ultimately told me about the plane crashing into one of the towers. She had been frantic because she knew we had been stuck in New York for a night and knew we were flying out that morning. I don't know if there is such a thing as retroactive fear but I remember actually shaking thinking about how close we'd been to these horrific events. I watched on the news as the towers crumbled and thought that earlier that morning I'd seen those towers shining in the sun. I remember wondering what would have happened if we'd chosen to take the 9:00am flight instead of the 7:30am flight. Would we have taken off at all? Would we be stuck in New York?
Less that a week later my husband left with VFA 143 to fly combat missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. This was one of the most difficult times in my entire life.
We all have our stories and memories of 9/11. Every American remembers where they were when they heard the news of the planes crashing or saw the towers fall. This is just my story...just one tiny piece of the American consciousness of that horrific day ten years ago.