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Sunday, September 11, 2005

We Shall Not Forget


I was at home when I heard of 9-11, and oddly like Daniel, I heard it from a Canadian. In 2001, my work week was between 60 and 80 hours a week. It was unusual being off that Tuesday, and I was taking a break from packing for a planned trip to Washington. I did not have a TV at the time, working those hours, I considered it pointless to have one. Reception here is bad, and I would not pay for cable for as little as I would watch TV. Anyway, I much preferred to be online.
I was playing a game of Literati, if you haven't heard of it, its much like scrabble. One of those yahoo games were you can meet, play and make friends with people from all over the world. I knew my opponent her name was Linda and we played often together. She was a Canadian, and though we were miles away, we enjoyed each other's company and conversed as we played.

Then she told me, "Bob a plane hit the trade center." I thought a small plane, and continued to play, then she said, "its a large plane." "What's happening Linda?" I knew she was watching TV.

She took forever to answer. I waited, opened another window on the explorer and like Dan could not find a news site that would load. The web traffic had jammed the news sites and I sat there wondering.

"Bob there was two planes." She had tuned in late, and was filling me in. "The fire is terrible."

"Linda, I have to go." She understood.

I jumped in my car, and headed aimlessly out. There had to be a place were I could see what was happening. By the time I arrived at a bar with a TV, the third plane had hit the Pentagon. I watched the replays of the crash in New York. And, I knew our lives would not be the same again.

And as the events unfolded before my eyes. I thought about my trip to DC, all my planning had been done, reservations had been made bothon Amtrak and the hotel. I called my girlfriend, she was now having second thoughts. "I said I have to go."

She did come along, the security was tight, the museums were empty. We were always under nervous watchful eyes. Soldiers were on the White House Lawn, armed with automatic weapons. The Secret Service, both uniformed and in street clothes made their presence known. Sometimes they were just a step away.

And you could feel the growing resolve as the soldiers in jeeps as they passed us. No we would not forget. We will remember, and we would not relent against the war that was brought to us.

When I returned to Lynchburg, I again played Linda a game of Literati. She asked me, "How I was doing?" I told her I was fine, and my son was completing his training to be a Navy. And he would soon be in the fight. Linda and I are still friends, she had sent my son packages. And she tells me, we are all Americans and we are in this together.

Photo taken one week after 9-11 by Bob

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