My 9/11. The Morning of the Attacks.

This is a post I wanted to write today as I prepare for Sunday.  It seems so long ago but I remember, vividly, the emotions, the words, the pictures.  It was hard to write.



On Tuesday morning, September 11th, 2001, the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM, Eastern Time.

At 9:02 AM the South Tower is hit.

At 9:37 AM the Pentagon is hit.

At 9:59 AM the South Tower collapses.

At 10:03 AM flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania.

At 10:28 AM the North Tower collapses.

I wasn't even awake yet....



It was a Tuesday morning here in Alaska. We were in our previous home here in Girdwood. I got up around 6:30 AM (10:30 AM Eastern) or so to get to a prayer breakfast at 7 AM. As is often the case, I got up and went to check my email. Ten years ago this was a task that took a little bit of time because we only had a dial-up modem. I checked the email and found one from This is a fantasy football site that I frequent during the football season. I don't remember what the email said, exactly, but the gist of it was something like this,

At this time our hearts go out to all Americans everywhere due to the horrible attacks that have occurred in New York.  We don't know what has happened or what will happen from now but it appears that we're at war.  We join with you in prayer for the victims, the families involved, and for our leaders.

That was my first indication that something was wrong.  And, really, I had NO IDEA what was wrong...only that something was very, very, wrong.

At this point, my wife was up and on the phone with her sister in the Lower-48.  My son, who was six, had gotten up early and had turned on the TV to watch some PBS.  Surely there was a kids show on somewhere.  He had asked why every channel had the same thing on...the same image of planes crashing into buildings.  Julie had called her sister to find out what it was that was happening.

So, like many people around the country and around the world, we sat there in front of the TV, watching, again and again and again and again, the same planes crash into the World Trade Towers and then the Towers fall. We cried.  We had no idea how to react.

Much was made about the reaction of President Bush when he was told about the attacks while reading a children's book to a classroom filled with young kids. He sat there, stunned, with a "deer in a headlights" look. Some criticized him for not jumping into leadership mode. Instead he looked dazed.

Well...that's what I did. That's exactly what many of us did.  "Dazed" was a completely human and completely natural response.  This didn't even make sense. There was nothing in my reality that put these attacks into a framework in which I could even think about them. I knew those towers. I had grown up in New York. I had looked off the top floor many times. The World Trade Towers were symbolic of American greatness...or at least our power and economic might. And there were so many people there. There would be so many dead.

Were we at war?

At war with whom?

I don't know how long we sat watching the same scene play out, crying, worrying, confused, lost.

Eventually, I looked at my watch and realized that I had a prayer breakfast that had supposedly started already. I knew the people (sometimes "person") who would be there. I called Dick and told him that we should probably go pray. So we headed over to the Bake Shop.

We ate.

It was quiet.

We headed down to the church.

We sat in the sanctuary.

And we prayed.

We prayed for victims.

We prayed for our leaders.

We prayed for our country.

We prayed for our military.

We prayed for our community.

We prayed for the responders.

We prayed for our enemies.

We prayed for our world.

It was about 8:30 AM, Alaska time. It was 12:30 PM on the East Coast. It seemed like an eternity had passed that day.

That all happened in the first hour and a half I was up that day.

I look back and see all that's happened since then and am amazed.  Two wars.  Increased security.  Anti-Muslim sentiment.  Fear.

I'm wondering if I'm still waking up.