Family Matters Blog: Blogger Remembers the Tragedy of 9/11

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2010 — Heather Fors­gren Weaver of Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Fam­i­ly Mat­ters. Heather’s been heav­i­ly involved in this blog from the start. She edits, helps write and posts con­tent on a dai­ly basis.

Firefighters work to put out the flames moments after a hijacked jetliner crashed into the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2001
Fire­fight­ers work to put out the flames moments after a hijacked jet­lin­er crashed into the Pen­ta­gon, Sept. 11, 2001.
DoD pho­to by U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jason Inger­soll
Click to enlarge

In this blog, Heather remem­bers Sept. 11, 2001, when ter­ror­ists flew planes into the Pen­ta­gon, the World Trade Cen­ter in New York and heroes on Flight 93 crashed their plane rather than risk it being flown into the Unit­ed States Capi­tol.

The Sky Was So Blue

I’ll always remem­ber how blue the sky was that Sep­tem­ber morn­ing. The pic­tures on TV don’t do it jus­tice.

I was a reporter cov­er­ing the mobile-phone indus­try and there was a big press con­fer­ence on Capi­tol Hill about fund­ing 9–1-1 ser­vice, timed for Sept. 11 – 9–1-1. About mid­way through the press con­fer­ence, all of the law­mak­ers’ cell phones start­ed ring­ing. Every­one laughed and the phones were quick­ly turned off. It would be anoth­er 30 min­utes before we would be evac­u­at­ed and told that planes had hit the World Trade Cen­ter in New York.

Arriv­ing out­side, it was chaos, with rumors cir­cu­lat­ing wild­ly: a bomb had gone off at the State Depart­ment, a bomb had gone off in near­by Crys­tal City, Va., and a plane had hit the Pen­ta­gon.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that last one was true, and I still remem­ber the shock of see­ing the smoke, which I would lat­er learn was from the Pen­ta­gon as I – and sev­er­al oth­ers – start­ed to walk down­town

I remem­ber the rest of the day in slow motion – walk­ing a mile to my office only to be told that the Nation­al Press Build­ing had also been evac­u­at­ed, rid­ing a Metro train that changed des­ti­na­tions three times and final­ly end­ed up at the stop clos­est to my house, and wait­ing for my hus­band to walk the sev­en miles from Crys­tal City to our home because although no bomb had explod­ed, no one was allowed to get their cars out of the garage.

Last year, Elaine Wil­son blogged in “Tak­ing Time to Remem­ber” about how the events of 9/11 changed the direc­tion of her life.

I can’t say the same, but as the days, weeks, months and now years have passed, I have often been remind­ed of that day, when more peo­ple lost their lives at the Pen­ta­gon than had been killed in the Okla­homa City bomb­ing.

Read­ing the sto­ries of those who were killed that day, I remem­ber feel­ing a sense of loss that I would nev­er get to meet these peo­ple.

Since then, I have walked on the hill in Arling­ton Ceme­tery over­look­ing the Pen­ta­gon and said a prayer for those lost. And I have vis­it­ed the Pen­ta­gon 9/11 memo­r­i­al and griev­ed anew for the loss of that seem­ing­ly per­fect day when the sky was so beau­ti­ful and it looked as if noth­ing bad could hap­pen.

I remem­ber gap­ing at the hole in the Pen­ta­gon dur­ing a Uni­ty Walk a few weeks after the attacks and cel­e­brat­ing less than a year lat­er when repairs were com­plet­ed.

Now, I take time to per­son­al­ly thank every ser­vice­mem­ber I see in uni­form and I pray for those cur­rent­ly serv­ing to keep us safe.

I’m also mind­ful that since I was on Capi­tol Hill that dread­ful day, the heroes of Flight 93 prob­a­bly saved my life. How do you repay such a sac­ri­fice?

My neigh­bor­hood has its own 9/11 Memo­r­i­al Gar­den. I will vis­it it tomor­row and remem­ber know­ing that what­ev­er I do, it will nev­er be enough.

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U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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