I first heard about the World Trade Center attacks on my way to work...five years ago, today. At first, I thought it was a joke, but when I heard that a second plane hit a second building, I knew it wasn't.
By the time I got to work, a third plane hit the Pentagon and a fourth was suspected of being on it's way to the White House. I immediately picked up the phone and started calling my family. I called my youngest son at home and woke him up. I called my dad to see if he had the TV on...he did. I called my husband at work...he and his co-workers were watching the news. I called my oldest son...he was on top of a building in downtown Dallas setting up an antennae and said everyone was making a mass exodus from the city like it was quitting time. He commented on how quiet it was up on the roof...for the first time that he could ever recall, there were no planes flying overhead...he said it was freaky.
Later that day, I talked to my middle son who was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport. They had been in the middle of an exercise on base and had to immediately stand down and shift gears from make believe to real world. He commented weeks later how good it felt to be on the flight line the day they launched dozens of B-52s to head for the Middle East...his only regret was that he wasn't going with them.
We all have our memories of that day, and were all affected by the attack in one way or another, but one of the most moving things that happened afterwards was the appearance of U.S. flags everywhere. They hung from buildings, bridges, homes, trees, fences, cars, antennaes...anything that stood still long enough to have one attached. I've never been more proud of my countrymen than I was in the days following the attacks. I have only one question...well, actually two......why does it take a disaster to get our nation to unite...and what happened to that patriotism??