Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago

It was about a month into the semester for me.  Life still seemed chaotic.  John and I had just moved to Buffalo in August.  Classes started, and our wedding was 10 days away.  I woke up that morning, tosses on my clothes, and had John drop me off at UB.  It was just a few minutes after 9.  I don't remember if we were listening to NPR or Sports radio in the car.  I was sleepy, so I wasn't really listening.

I got out of the car, and headed to class, oblivious.  When I got to class, a few people were looking concerned, so I sat down, and listened.  Rumors of planes hitting NYC were floating around, and I was really confused.  It wasn't until the professor came in and confirmed.  There was an attack in NYC.  Now you'd think that would be enough to cancel class, but no...this was Interventions I, and important to the School of Social Work, and the professor insisted there was nothing we could do.  Class would go on.  Some of my class mates were from NYC. They left.

I sat in a daze, still confused.  I had never really been to NYC, except to fly out of it.  The class was 3 hours long, and we usually took two 10 minute breaks.  Our first break came, and most of the students rushed out to find our missing classmates.  That's when we all learned the towers had fallen.  I was still in a daze.  No access to a TV, or even a radio (and I think I lacked a cell phone at the time), I could just listen to everyone else.  All I could think about was Towers toppling over like blocks, and all I could ask myself was 'What the **** was going on?'.

The professor excused the students from NYC, so they could go and call home.  The rest of us, she kept, stating earlier sentiments- there was nothing we could do, classes should go on.  As you can imagine, that didn't go too well.  Some of the students were angry with her, tapping things loudly, glaring.  One or two students started bawling, and finally...she let us go.

No phone, and no way to get a hold of John, I wandered the campus.  I ended up near the Undergraduate Library, where a crowd had gathered inside and out.  There were TV's, though no sound.  With many other students, I watched in horror as they replayed over and over the planes hitting the towers, and finally, the towers fallings.  I remember crying, and looking around at the other students, a mix of almost every ethnicity.  I don't think any of us could look away from the TV.  Someone informed us that UB was canceling the rest of classes for the day, someone said something about fearing other attacks.  I waited for John, and have to admit the relief I felt at seeing our car pull in.

It wasn't until I got in the car that I remember our wedding was in 10 days.  We got our marriage certificate one day earlier.  It seems silly that it would come to mind then- and I remember feeling guilt for feeling nervous about our plans when people were dead and dying.  My Maid of Honor, and my priest were both out of town, so a part of me got panicked when flights were cancelled.  I remember coming up with contingency plans in case Father Paul couldn't make it.

To this day, I can't watch any of the footage from 9/11.  I refuse- it's all too much, and I don't ever want to be desensitized.  I watched it all day that day, but eventually made myself turn it off.  Eventually classes resumed, and we got word that flights would resume.  My Maid of Honor was coming from Canada, and I wouldn't have to smuggle her into the country.  We got married without any problems (at least 9/11 problems) and went on a honeymoon to the Poconos the following week.  We met NYC couples that had their weddings canceled, or they changed their plans and got married in a county that hadn't closed it's doors.  It was all sort of surreal.  It still seems surreal, after all these years.

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