I may be the biggest college football fan on the planet but football day or not, today everyone needs to take a few minutes to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11.
Everyone has a story about where they were when the twin towers were hit. Everyone across the nation. Whether you were in the city, studying abroad or waking up to an average Tuesday morning, you remember.
Me? I had been living in NYC for 8 months. Just 8 short months. And no matter what I told everyone back home, I HATED IT! I was 20 years old. Waiting tables to pay bills, going to cattle call auditions and barely getting by. I HATED IT!!
So, Sunday September 9, I sat there in DFW Airport with my Mom and Dad telling me that I didn't have to go back. If I was that sad and homesick, I could just stay in Oklahoma. I cried and cried with my parents waiting for my flight to board but all the while saying I HAD to go back. Not sure why. No one was waiting for me, nothing tying me to NYC, but I just had something to prove I guess. Little did I know as I hugged my parents that would be the last time they ever sat at the gate with me while waiting to board my flight.
Monday was Monday and I worked at the restaurant. I had a busy week ahead of me and I was really looking forward to Tuesday as it was my only day off for the next two weeks or so. I was starting rehearsals for the Elan Awards, my first NYC Show!
Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
The phone rings at the butt crack of dawn (just before 9am!). And rings. And rings. My roommate, who was sleeping on the futon in the living room, finally answers it and then comes banging on my door. (Note: before I took the phone from her I was actually angry that on my only day off someone would wake me up! Selfish?) My dear friend, Amanda, was up for class in Stillwater and saw the first plane on the news. She called immediately to see if we were okay. We were so okay, we were clueless. I hung up the phone with Amanda and we ran to our rooftop as the second plane was hitting the towers.
The scene on our rooftop was surreal. My roommates and I in are PJs, men in business suits with toothbrush in hand, people in their boxers and no one cared. Everyone was staring south. I still had my phone in my hand. A land line phone. It worked on the roof! No one's phone worked!! But ours did. We called our parents and sat on the roof for hours. Someone brought a radio up to the roof and we all watched together. The entire building. I am not sure when my phone stopped working to call long distance but I could still reach my good friend Rhonda. I would call Rhonda and check in and she would call my mom.
By days end, I am sure I spent a good 6 hours on our roof. I saw hundreds of people walk up my street covered in ash and what not. I saw doctors and nurses walk south towards the disaster. At about 6pm, I was on the roof alone still taking it all in. I remember thinking it was such a beautiful day. It wasn't rainy. It wasn't muggy. It was a perfect fall day. And somewhere in the midst of all this tragedy and horror, I felt God was present. And right then, on the worst day in American history. On the scariest day of my life. I finally felt I was home and NYC was where I belonged.