Five years ago, our nation changed. We lost our collective innocence, our belief that bad things happen in other countries, to other people. I heard the news very early, on-line, in my then office in Tyson's Corner. At first, it was just a sad item, a small plane had crashed into the Twin Towers.
Quickly the news changed, as it became apparent that the crash was intentional. We began to hear helicopters overhead. Tyson's Corner is a long drive, but in actuality just a few miles from the Pentagon. We gathered together in an office, trying desperately to get TV reception, to get news, reassurance. Instead the government shut down. DC called a state of emergency, followed soon after by Virginia. I was frantically on the phone with my husband, my son's school, my parents, trying to figure out what to do.
I remember trying to get to my son's school in Bowie, frantic to get to him, get him home safely, but not wanting to let on that something bad, something horrible had happened. He was 7 that year. I spent the whole evening on the couch, glued to the news. I wept.
No one I knew was hurt. No one I knew was injured or lost. But it still felt very personal. I don't know if it was the strength of the images we saw over and over, or the personal stories of heartbreak. I felt violated and angry and lost.
Today is a day for remembrance. For extending sympathies to the families of the victim, and for forgettting our differences and remembering what draws us together as people.