It's hard to be believe its been 7 years since the 9/11 attacks. At the time, I was living in Palm Springs, working full time at the local community college. I drove my kids to school and then to work, listening to a non-commercial all 8o's radio station, completely oblivious to what was happening. I changed the radio station right as I pulled into the parking lot to hear a DJ saying "America is under attack." I rushed into my office, looked at my co-workers and said "What the F**k is going on?"
By this time the towers were gone and Flight 93 had just crashed in Pennsylvania. Unable to comprehend what was happening, we somehow rounded up a crappy black and white t.v. and watched the coverage of the towers collapsing over and over again. I remember being spellbound and began to cry. The creepy old Community College counselor gave me a hug - and on that day, I let him.
Today as I sit here and watch the names of the dead being read at Ground Zero, and the ceremonies at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania I think back on that day and thank god for my friends and family and for the fact that I am an American.
Daddy Warbucks and I had been in Tahiti for the past 10 days and were supposed to fly home the next day, but of course all flights had been canceled. Amazingly we had purchased travel insurance which saved our bacon on the cost of staying yet another week. Daddy Warbucks had also brought a satellite phone the size of a small state so we were able to speak to our family. I remember my little niece who was 8 asking my brother (who was vacationing with us) what "terrorism" and "hijacking" were.
The Frenchies (my name for French people) who, while I was in their country, was totally annoyed because they spoke no English and were of no help. They would tell us each day to check back and could not give us any idea of when we would be going home. Daddy Warbucks and my brother would go to the airport each day while my sister-in-law Nancy and I would tan and drink more and more Coronas, smoke mini-cigars and play cards. For a while we thought we might just have to live in Tahiti for maybe a year and make do. Nancy said she could be the manager of K-Tahiti and I could be the number one sales rep. I told her only if we could close up shop at 3 and go to the beach for Coronas and cards.
It would seem that being stuck in Tahiti would be a great thing and nothing to complain about, however being somewhere that far away when the worst act of terror ever happens on American soil is no picnic. It made me appreciate and love my country more than I already do.
At that point my Irish skin couldn't take any more sun, my stomach could take no more Spaghetti Bolognese and if I saw one more fire-eating Tahitian I was going to scream. I was incredibly home sick for my state of Texas.
Three weeks after we had arrived, we flew out on a red eye to Palm Springs and then to Dallas. I asked my brother what airline we were taking (I hate to fly and was nervous beyond belief) and he said "Air Asshole". Literally no exaggeration, the airline was some French name I'd never heard of and there was a picture of what could have been Saddam Hussein's twin brother on the side of the plane making a salute stance. I was so determined to get home that I didn't even care. The flight was fine and why is it whenever I don't fly American, the planes are so much cleaner and the crew so much nicer, even on "Air Asshole" the crew was so polite and the plane was spotless.
A couple of months later we went to London and I was so nervous to fly again that I threw up the entire way and also in the lobby of our hotel when we arrived. That night I managed to buck up, go to a pub and have a pint and all was good.
So many years later I think how lucky we are that we have not seen another act of terrorism like the one we witnessed on that horrible day.