I remember the sunshine. The sky was a beautiful blue, the breeze was light and the air was cool. I remember standing out on the deck, looking out over the ocean at such peace and such beauty and wondering how all could seems so perfect and serene when others were experiencing such horror and fear.
I was 16 years old. Every year students from my high school and surrounding schools went to a place called Haystack Mountain School of Crafts to do studio based learning. We were all put in different classes (of our choice) to learn different arts. We stayed in cabins with students from other schools. We all came together, for a few days of fun, learning and getting to know people we may never have met otherwise.
There were no TV’s. no cell phones so when we got word of the terror attacks, all we had was an old barely functional radio. I remember searching the sky for planes. We were miles away, but yet I was scared. I used the pay phone to try to call my boyfriend (at the time) who was going to school in Boston. I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when all I got was a strange busy signal that I continued to get throughout the day.
I remember a friend’s mother coming to bring something to her daughter and her telling us about the horrible things that unfolded live on TV. I remember closing my eyes and imagining people leaping from buildings because they had no other choice, and thinking how unimaginable that was when all seemed so perfect on the porch of the cafeteria of Haystack.
I remember seeing one of the instructors sitting on the steps, resting his head in his hands while he cried for his brother who was in one of the towers. I remember holding hands with someone I didn’t know, while we all bowed our heads on the porch for a prayer circle; something that would have never happened had we actually be on school grounds, but that we all needed.
I remember returning to reality a couple days later; a reality that would never be the same. I remember the first time I went to ground zero, looking up at the sunshine on a beautiful day in New York City and thinking about what those people saw that day.
I know a fear I never knew before. I worry for my children’s safety in a way I probably never would have. I worry about my husband who is on inactive reserve in the Army. I worried the day I met him, that he would someday have to leave me to fight a war that we didn’t realize existed before that day.