12 years ago, right now, I was headed to my sixth grade class. What was about to happen would change The United States; The World, forever.
I remember like it was yesterday.
As I stood in the doorway of my sixth grade class room, my best friend told me his dad was no longer going on his trip to Malaysia. Naturally I asked him, “How come?”
He had told me that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center’s in New York City.
As a sixth grader, I always remembered seeing the “Twin Towers” on television and in movies; but I did not know what they were called.
Since I didn’t make the connection to the buildings and since our school did not share with us what happened (we had a normal day at school) I never knew just how big of a deal it was until I got home that night.
At the time, I was staying as a guest at a friend’s house. My parents were in Germany and were actually in the air, about to cross over the Atlantic.
When I saw the planes hitting the buildings and the connection was made, I realized how horrible it was. I remember how sad I felt for all the people who had immediate family members, other relatives and friends who didn’t make it through the attack.
I also remember feeling scared for my parents because we were unable to get ahold of them.
Once we finally got to talk to them we heard their crazy adventure.
They had left Germany, headed for Chicago, a few hours before the attacks.
A quarter of the way into the flight, my mom looked out her window and noticed something coming out of the wing. My dad, knowing something was up, simply told her it was water vapor.
A few minutes later the Captain made an announcement stating how they were turning the plane around because three of the four navigational systems they use were not working and that they needed a minimum of two to work to make it across the Atlantic.
Once the plane landed back in Germany, it stayed in the middle of the runway. Once again the Captain came on the speakers, but this time told the passengers (many were Americans) what had happened in the United States and that America was under attack.
My parents plane was actually suspected of having terrorists on it, and there were thoughts of a bomb on board. The plane was checked and all the passengers were immediately debriefed.
After another week, being stuck in Germany, they were finally told they had a flight home. Many of the same passengers were on this flight, and they had the same crew members as well. It was one of the first international flights back into Chicago since 9/11.
One of the crew members recognized my parents from the “turnaround” flight and they began talking. Apparently, since the “turnaround” plane was warned, in the air, that there were possible terrorists and a bomb on board, the flight crew used broken wine bottles to stand guard at the cockpit.
Everyone remembers where they were, who told them about the events and what they did that day. The memories are vivid down to every little detail. Hopefully it is something we never have to deal with again.