Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Will Never Forget

Hi, it's Sheila.
Today's 'blog I dedicate to America, as we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11th.
I will never forget that day. I know that's true of any American who has a memory of that day 10 years ago, but these are some of the things I remember most.

For me and Rob, and for my family, it started just like any other day. I woke up at 3 a.m. and went to work. My husband Ric helped our daughter Katie get ready for school -- second grade. At 8:46 a.m., Rob and I were in the middle of a cooking segment on our show with the Midnight Gourmet, Nick Tolbert. Within moments of the first plane crashing into the North Tower, our producer Dan Romito told us, "We're taking some live video. The World Trade Center is on fire."

I will never forget the feeling of complete terror as we watched the second plane hit the second tower live. I instantly knew it was an attack. It was such a helpless feeling to watch it occur, and subsequently to hear of the Pentagon being hit, and the plane going down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

When the networks started talking about where the flights had originated, I was terrified. My brother lived in Boston at the time, and he traveled a lot for work. I called my mother in a panic and demanded, "Where's John?!" She didn't have her TV on, and she didn't know what was happening. I scared her to death. (John wasn't flying that day.)

When the South Tower began to collapse just more than an hour later, Rob and I were in the newsroom watching the networks (Fox 19 had gone to full network coverage by then). I will never forget the look on Rob's face and the feeling of disbelief and dread that came over us when that tower fell. We both had tears in our eyes, and we both knew we would cry if we didn't look away. This may sound silly, but if you're going to cover news, you can't cry. We knew eventually we'd be back on the air, and for me it was not much later, when we started reporting on local effects of the tragedy, Cincinnati air traffic being halted, etc.

I will never forget the moment I finally got home that day, many hours later. I was finally able to cry, and I almost couldn't stop.
Ric had to take the TV remote away from me because I couldn't stop watching the news coverage, and he made me get away from the TV.

I don't have words to describe how I felt, how we all felt. PBS put together a post 9/11 website, and one of the pages is full of stories by regular people, talking about their memories of the day. I was reading through these stories by regular people about feelings of sorrow, fear, confusion, sadness, vengeance, even pride. I can't think of the nearly 3,000 people who died without being sad, both for them and for the people who loved them, and who are still grieving ten years later. I can't think of the courageous people of United Flight 93 or the New York City firefighters and police officers who ran into the towers without being proud. And I can't think of the American service members who enlisted, are fighting, have fought, and who have died for the U.S.A since September 11th without being grateful.

And I will never forget all the ways the people of this country showed their patriotism after the attacks -- showed the terrorists we will not be scared, and we will stand together as Americans. This is a picture of the American flag flying at my house. It was hard to find a flag in the days after 9/11, but Ric and I did find one. We have not allowed a day to go by in the last 10 years when we weren't showing our colors (this is our 3rd flag).

As tragic as September 11, 2001 was for all of us, especially for the victims' families, I believe it made us stronger. It made us think of the little things. It made us more grateful for this country we love, and for our freedom, and for each other. And that's something I will never, ever forget.

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