It is 9/11 and facebook has been peppered with posts on where people were and what people were thinking when they got the news. I wasn’t going to comment on it because it’s been such a long time and it wasn’t even 9/11 for me when it happened—in my timezone, it was 9/12—but someone on the Unofficial NaNoWriMo facebook page pointed out that experience makes for good stories and asked where everyone was etc. My 9/11 experience was rather unique, and so I felt prompted to share, in brief, my experiences and thoughts on the attack.
There is certainly more to the experience and it’s been so long that the details have blurred, but the following was my response to the poster’s question:
I was 15 and living in South Korea. I had an early morning church class and my mom woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me that I wouldn’t have the class the next day, but wouldn’t tell me why. I found out later the next day, but she didn’t tell my younger siblings. All military personnel were called to the base in the middle of the night and required to stay the next day and sleep in their offices while things were sorted out. For the first week, only active duty military were allowed on base, so we had no way to buy groceries or do laundry or anything like that. If any of us living off base managed to get on, we would call all our friends and offer to pick up supplies for those who couldn’t get on. After a week or so, they started letting people back on, but everyone had to enter through the same gate and wait for hours while they searched every car. After a few weeks, security lightened up and things got closer to back to normal, but within a month, they required all military families to move back to the states. I didn’t know anyone or lose anyone in the attacks, but 9/11 affected my daily life in a way it didn’t for most people. For me, it was scariest to be cut off from supplies and to live so close to an enemy country that had nukes and might choose to follow suit. I worried that my dad would be called away to war when they started sending in troops. I had many friends with fathers or husbands or brothers who were shipped off to the middle east, but fortunately, mine never had to go.
It was a horrible tragedy and in some ways, we are still recovering from it, but I was overwhelmed with pride at the way it brought us all together, if only for a short while. Suddenly, we as a nation were under attack and so we rose to the occasion and became a unified nation. Strangers reached out to help one another. We realized how valuable our lives and are freedoms are and appreciated the sacrifices our nation has gone through to make them possible. Everyone shouted out their pride to be Americans and their support for those who defend us and make us free, the firemen who saved so many lives and the soldiers who went out risking their own lives to make sure such a tragedy never happened again.