Eleven Years Ago
Where were you eleven years ago on the morning of September 11th? Do you remember? I do.
That morning I was driving a school bus in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. I will never forget going to my car after parking my bus, then turning on the radio to listen to Bob and Tom, a morning radio show.
Normally, the radio program was constant joking around, funny comedy bits, and crazy songs (My wife usually griped at me for listening to them). That morning, when I cranked my car and turned on the radio, there was something different in Bob and Tom’s voices. They weren’t laughing. They weren’t joking. Something had happened, and they were not quite sure what it was. An accident?
I turned off my car, walked quickly across a gravel parking lot, and went into the office where a crowd of other drivers were not gathered. They were all looking up at a little 12 inch television in the mounted in the corner of the room.
Smoke was coming from one of the Twin Towers. People were wondering what in the world could have happened. Then they showed a second plane hit. The world changed.
It was while I was watching that little television that I realized life would never be the same. I walked out of the office, in a daze, sick at my stomach, thinking about what I had just witnessed. I started to cry.
My was at home in bed with a migraine. She wasn’t watching TV, so she had no clue what was going on. I opened the door to the bedroom and said, “Valerie! Dad-gum it! You’re sleeping through history!!” Frankly, she wasn’t very happy me or my volume.
Things changed so quickly, especially after the other attacks and the collapse of the towers. Hopkinsville was right next to Fort Campbell, the home of the 101st Airborne. Just a few days before all that had been necessary to get past the guard and on base was a drivers license. The laid-back soldiers at the guard posts, armed only with a pistol, would politely wave you through and wish you a good day. That afternoon non-essential personnel were prohibited from passing through the gates, and at each post there stood soldiers in body armor and armed with automatic assault weapons. Each had orders to shoot.
There were 40,000 (est.) soldiers (not counting family) on base at Ft. Campbell, and more living in either Hopkinsville, KY, or Clarksville, TN. Many of those soldiers and their families went to churches in our town. Their children went to school on our buses. That afternoon the buses were almost empty.
I was glad. I was sick. I couldn’t focus on much. I was constantly fighting back tears.
That night was a night of contemplation, of prayer. That night brought a swell of patriotism. That night turned many peaceful people into would-be warriors. That night America wanted revenge. That night I didn’t sleep well.
That night I looked up into the night sky, to the heavens, to pray. There were no red or white blinking lights, only stars. God had our attention that night. But that was then.
Where were you? Where are you now?