Friday, September 11, 2009
Where Were You When The World Stood Still?
On the day school started in 2001, Richard, myself, and another retired couple of educators drove by our schools to honk good-bye in a “Na-na-na-na sort of way. Then we headed off to visit all of the western national parks and monuments.
We went to Yellowstone and then to the Black Hills to see the Presidential Heads on a Mountain. We were having a great time enjoying our new found freedom.
On September 11, we were in Cody, Wyoming. We awoke to the terrible sights on television, along with everyone else in the nation.
Our plan had been to head for Mt. Rushmore that day.
After some discussion and several emotional phone calls home, (Home! Suddenly we just wanted to be home!), we decided to proceed to our destination. We couldn’t help but think of the teachers we left behind and the children in their classes. What were they saying to them? How could they explain this? I remember how emotional it was the day the Challenger exploded. This was of a far greater scope.
With our car radio tuned to the unfolding news, we crossed into South Dakota
The sky was eerily empty.
We called our loved ones again. Daughter Martie had decided to keep our granddaughter home from school. No one seemed to know what would happen next.
As we came upon the area of Mt. Rushmore, there were armed guards at the access road. We took their picture. We soon learned that all of the monuments across the United States had been closed down. Our plans would have to change.
When Mt. Rushmore re-opened we attended the show that first night. I’m sure that the show is always wonderful, but that night! Oh my! It was emotionally charged with that ultra-patriotism that everyone had suddenly come to enjoy. Tears washed the faces of everyone in the audience as we sang, “America,” “ The Star Spangled Banner,” and “God Bless America.”
We stayed on the road for the next week. There was a different feel out there. Flags popped up on cars. People were more open and friendly. Strangers were acting like old friends. Everyone was open and raw. My hair stood on end. When I think of it now, it does still.