11 September 2001, I remember it clearly. I had slept in that morning. I had work to do, but it could wait. Then, the phone woke me up. It was mom calling from the nurses station at the hospital where she had worked for years.
Mom: “Trisha, get up, turn on the TV. ”
Me, Groggy: “Okay, Why?”
Mom: “A plane just hit The Pentagon.”
Me: “It couldn’t have, that’s restricted airspace”. I knew this fact because my sister and I had flown in and out of the Washington DC Area for years after our parents divorced.
Mom: “But it did. And two planes hit buildings in New York. Get up. Turn the TV on, and let me know if you or Dad (my grandfather) need anything”
I spent the rest of the day glued to the television. I answered calls from friends that were worried because they knew I had been on a flight. My friends thought I was on a flight on 11 September but I had left Alabama a few days earlier and was home in Kentucky. I called my grandparents at the lake in Alabama, checking in with them…my youngest cousins were too little to know what was going on but they could both pick up on the tension and concern. Grandpa was glued to the TV and Grandma was trying to keep the boys outside. Their Mom, my Aunt Lisa, had rented the only car she could and was racing back from California to get to her babies.
It was a crazy, strange, scary time.
Today, on 11 September 2023, I realized that while I remember where I was and I remember that there were 4 flights that were used as weapons and three sites that are now memorials to that day where yearly services are held…I couldn’t remember the flight numbers or the times that would serve as markers for moments of silence.
I know that ever since 2001 the phrase “Let’s Roll” has always hit different. I knew it was said on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. But I couldn’t remember who said it. Then I heard the name of Todd Beamer read out at the Memorial Service in New York City. I knew that I knew that name. Then one of the commentators talked about how Mr. Beamer was the gentleman that had uttered the words “Let’s Roll”
It was right then that I realized how much I had started to forget. I spent the rest of the morning listening to guests share memories and stories. I thought about how much life has changed.
Next year, I will remember more clearly. I will remember more of the names and stories.