This past weekend was an emotional one. All the events marking the 9/11 anniversary brought back memories of where I was that day and the emotions I felt then.
I was on a bus tour in Western Australia. We were in Perth that morning and I turned on the TV to get the weather report as I dressed for breakfast. Instead of the weather report, I saw a plane flying into one of the Towers. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. At first I thought maybe it was some kind of horror movie but all too quickly I realized this was no movie. This was a real horror that was taking place in my home country. The tears started.
I felt helpless. I was so far from home and there was nothing I could do to help. Finally, I was dressed and went down to the breakfast room.
When I walked in, one of the men from the tour came over and hugged me while whispering, “I’m so sorry.” I just lost it and the tears poured. The tears were never far from the surface for the rest of our tour.
Of course, the question of how I would get home came up. Planes were not flying. Thanks to all the travel arrangements I had done for my bosses on their many trips to the Far East, I knew if I could get to Vancouver, I would be able to get home even if it meant renting a car and driving. It might mean flying to Japan and then Canada but eventually I’d get home.
I didn’t have to do that though because first I had to attend a wedding in New Zealand. One of the men on the tour told me he had a row boat I could use to get from Australia to New Zealand if that was necessary. Thank goodness, planes were flying once again by the time I had to leave for New Zealand.
After the wedding and a visit with friends, it was time to head back to the U.S. Security in the airports was tighter than I’d ever known it. But at last I was back home, safe and sound.
There were lots of memorial activities in the area this weekend. I didn’t attend any of them except for the service at my church. I almost didn’t go to it. When they showed video from 9/11, I didn’t watch much of it. I just couldn’t!
One man in the area had the idea and got the help he needed to put a flag on Art Hill for each person who perished at the Towers. The flags will be up — all 3,000 of them — for a week. I hope to go see them. Each one has the name of one of the people on it. I understand that there’s a YouTube video of them but I haven’t seen it.