It was a Tuesday. I was working for Service Merchandise. I was the Store Manger for the store in Slidell. I was off for the day. Slidell is across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. It's about an hour drive into the city, maybe less depending on traffic. My plan for the day was to drive across the lake into Metairie and stop at Borders and CompUSA and a few other places. Tuesday is new music day, so the new albums for the week would be out. Bob Dylan's "Love and Theft" was scheduled to come out today. I got up around early enough so I could get out of the house and on the road before nine or at least not too late afterwards.
Sometime before nine, my friend and assistant manager, Billy called me. I figured something must be up at the store. He just told me to turn the tv on. What channel? It didn't matter. I had no idea what could be going on. If anything I thought of something along the lines of the Challenger disaster.
I had no idea.
I turned on the TV and saw one of the World Trade Center towers in flames and smoke pouring out. A plane had crashed into it. While listening to it the station the second plane flew into the other tower. I was standing in front of the television. I couldn't move. I just stood there, watching the scenes of destruction. I don't know how long I stood there. Somehow I found myself sitting on the couch, my eyes never leaving the screen. I sat there, watching and listening.
Finally I couldn't watch any longer. I had to get up and go out. I decided to still go across the lake. I needed to do something to take my mind off the images I had just seen. All the way over the water and into the city I listened to the news. I ended up buying the new Dylan but it never made it into the player that day. I'm not sure when I actually listened to the album. I had to buy something at CompUSA. I have no idea what it was today. I remember very few people in there shopping and that it was just so quiet. No one was talking. It was like everyone was in a state of shock.
Driving home I took the causeway. The Causeway was the longest concrete bridge in the world, I think there's a bridge in China now that's taken that title since. But at the time it held claim to the longest such bridge in the world, going over the waters of Lake Pontchartrain. The bridge is 24 miles from end to end.
I was in the middle of the bridge, with no end in sight, water all around me and for a brief moment I thought that if there was any targets in Louisiana that the terrorists might aim for, the worlds longest bridge might not be a bad idea. It really didn't take serious hold in my mind, it was too wrapped up in what was going on in New York and Washington, but there was a brief moment of panic.
As soon as I got home I was back on the couch with the television on. The rest of the day was pretty much spent in front of the screen, watching what was going on. I just remember the feelings of grief and sorrow I felt that day. And later as I continued to watch the feelings of anger. All that grief built up to an anger at those that did this. While the anger has taken other forms, the grief and sorrow are still there.
Now ten years later I still feel that grief and sorrow. I was listening to NPR and they had a young boy on that was around four years old on 9/11. His grandfather was one of those that died in the towers. He was talking about that day with his Mother and when he started to talk about when his Mother had told him that his Grandfather was in one of the towers and his voice was cracking with emotion I had to turn the station. Even now, ten years later, it is so hard to see those images and listen to those stories.
I really don't have anything more insightful or meaningful that you'll no doubt read or hear about that day on other sites. All I know is that I'll never forget that day.
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