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How can it be 15 years later? It seems like only yesterday that I was as stunned as the rest of the world and watching airplanes fly into buildings.
Hu-Dad here. I rarely interrupt the blog with my own voice and prefer to let the dogs handle their stories. Frankly, though, none of them – not even the elder Queen Natasha – was alive during that fateful day.
Like the rest of you, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was in a conference room on the 20th floor of a building in Atlanta – looking in the direction of Dobbins Air Reserve Base. Normally, we would watch the fighter jets take off and land, but that day, the base was strangely quiet. Everything that they could put in the air was already up . . . and nothing was landing.
We didn’t believe the first reports. No one did. Until we suddenly did believe them.
Of the twenty or so of us in that conference room, only a couple were in their home city. The rest were from all over the country.
By luck of the draw, I had a rental car. Few others in the meeting did. Our flights were all canceled, so I gathered everyone I could into the car and started driving north toward our homes. Others who had cars did the same.
I called Hertz to let them know I would be returning the car somewhere other than planned, but I didn’t know where. They said, no problem. Whenever. Wherever. Be safe. Corporations were just acting that way on that horrible day.
The interstate was nearly abandoned. When we did stop, the conversation with others was only about one topic. Strangers joined cars headed in the direction they needed to go because we were all helping each other however little we could. People were just acting that way on that horrible day.
One of my co-workers lived in New York and was frantically trying to reach his brother, who was scheduled to be in the towers that day. Normally he was always punctual, but his brother was running late day due to car trouble. The best bad luck ever.
We talked to co-workers in our offices on 40th Street in NYC as they handed out water bottles to people walking out of the city. Just a few hours earlier, those co-workers were watching the smoke rise from the towers, transfixed at that horror. And they, unfortunately, watched the second plane glide into its deadly destination. Not live on TV. Live in the beautiful clear blue skies as they watched from their office windows. The horror was in their voices.
And, finally, I was home. Home never felt as great as it did that day. The Herd of the day – Nikita, Cocoa and Ginger – welcomed me as dogs always do. We lay on a couch watching the news until I just couldn’t watch for another second.
Yes, I remember that day exactly. Every detail about it.
But I also remember the numbers. The horrible, horrible numbers.
I will never forget the 2,977 innocent human beings who were killed by 19 murderers.
I will never forget the fact that 373 of those victims were from 58 countries other than the United States.
I will never forget that 31 of the innocent victims were Muslim (not including the murderers).
I will never forget the 8 children killed that day, the youngest only 2 1/2 years old.
I will never forget the 343 firefighters and 63 law enforcement officers who lost their lives trying to save others.
I will never forget the 55 military members and 70 civilians killed at the Pentagon.
I will never forget Sirius, a Port Authority K-9 who was killed in the collapse of the towers (his human partner, Port Authority Officer David Lim, was inside the tower rescuing others when it collapsed, though he was rescued from the rubble a few hours later).
Fifteen years ago. 15. That is a number I can not comprehend.
Has it really been that long? It seems like yesterday.
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