It was a beautiful Tuesday morning. The sun was shining and there were no clouds in the skies over Tampa Bay. The waters were serene and there was a break in the heat and humidity of the Summer.
I was parking my car under the building, ready for another day at my job, which I loved. I was listening to the popular morning radio show at the time. My office was less than a mile from Tampa International Airport.
Then the unthinkable happened as we watched on television. The events were horrific, and yet, they were real.
Unable to form words or thoughts, my co-workers and I either cried together, hugged each other or retreated into a quiet meditative space. I learned that our organization had no disaster plan of any type. As someone who had worked as an Urban Planner, on Emergency Management Plans and helped update our County’s Home Host Program, this was inconceivable. (That organization still did not have a Disaster Plan when I left for other opportunities. I doubt that they have implemented one, to this day).
I received the phone call from my husband. Hubby, my beloved US Army Veteran, was no stranger to terrorism, having been stationed in West Berlin. He immediately began to tell me what safety protocols needed to be activated, because terrorist attacks were suspected. To this day, he cannot explain how seamlessly his Threatcon persona appeared. In the weeks and months that followed, we remembered events from out pasts triggered by the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. Hubby helped me understand some deeply buried PTSD of my own (Panama – Operation Just Cause), while he opened up about some of his demons.
Twelve years have passed. Some things remain the same, while others have changed. Unfortunately, the closeness we found in each other, as human beings, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks has been forgotten. Sadly, it has been crushed by intolerance and hatred.
I pause to share the eloquent words of Meg Cabot’s 9/11 post. Meg, a bestselling author, lived in New York City at the time and her words still have the same impact as when she first published them.