I was on my way to a rescheduled hair appointment on September 11, 2001. My stylist’s business card had 9:30am written in the back along with the date 9/11. As I left my Atlanta apartment a bit after 9am, I had the station on the usual alternative rock station of the times: 99X featuring Barnes, Leslie, and Jimmy. They always made me laugh in the mornings while I was getting ready for my day. But on this day, they were acting bizarre. Then I heard them scream with horror while live on the air. They had witnessed the second plane hit the other tower. I heard the reaction and I realized something serious was happening.
I went to the salon as scheduled to confirm to the pretentious young receptionist I was there. I told her what happened with the WTC and she sneered at me like I was crazy. Once my stylist arrived for work, she began to realize what was going on and he asked her to turn on the radio. For two solid hours while getting my mane foiled, shampooed, and styled, we listened to the radio like it was 1935. We listened to the horror of AA Flight 77 crashing into the western end of The Pentagon at 9:37. We heard about the south tower imploding at 9:59am, which was under an hour after impact. Then the north tower was collapsing at 10:28am. Then we (my stylist and I) heard that Flight 93 was headed toward The White House. Everyone was stunned. We all prayed. We did not know what to do other than continue and listen. Then we found out that the hijacked Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, PA. I paid the salon; tipped my stylist; and left to go back home. I immediately called my parents, both sets of my grandparents, and a colleague who had a daughter in Manhattan that day. Fortunately, her daughter and friends were unharmed and my parents/grands knew I was ok. The city of Atlanta was closed by lunch hour. I barely remember what color my hair was, or even really cared. I turned on the TV and watched what I had been comprehending from the radio. I spent the day in meditation and solitude. I tried not to engross myself in the news stations too much because I was trying to keep my beloved intentions focused on (what I did not know at the time) 2977 people who had been killed. Moreover, loved ones of endless family members, elders, and descendents as survivors of the deceased were in thought.
Eighteen years later, it is difficult to realize that a person who had been born that year is of legal age. Eighteen years later, I have trouble remembering how we were without handheld technology a our fingertips. Eighteen years later, I find it bizarre that I live in a different geographical state of the country. Eighteen years later, I still remember that day and the aftermath.
The aftermath of this tragedy in 2001 temporarily brought us forward as a people whom had empathy for mankind. We all set aside our differences and helped one another. We saw men, women, dogs, and children organically reaching down to help one another back to level ground. There was a transparency and indifference to political party, sexual orientation, race, and gender. We all saw one another as mortal human beings whom had decency to respect each other’s lives and loves.
What we did not have was apathy and cynicism. We took this moment in time to unselfishly assist and anonymously be charitable. Being charitable is not equivalent to money donated, but time. Time is an asset that is completely irrevocable. By the time one has finished reading this publication I can say, “Thank you for your time.”
2001 was a year before the uprise of social media. Nobody came home to video tape and upload what happened on 9/11/2001 because we did not have that technology. We were a humanity that showed grace by active duty to one another. We truly were Americans living to our Pledge of Allegiance. We were “Invisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
Fast forward eighteen years, I will never forget what happened that day. I forgot what I was eating; whose post scored so many “likes”; who got influenced to post whatever on social media; and who told me something irrelevant with apathetic tone because I offended them. On the contrary, I will not forget who I am as a citizen and act without prejudice to my neighbor and neighboring countries.
Most of all, I will never forget and always will remember the generosity, sacrifice, and horror as the outcome of September 11, 2001.
May you blessed be.