Editor’s Note: The essay below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated.
Julie McKnight is the best mom you could ever ask for. The 48-year-old accountant was born in Amityville, New York, but spent much of her childhood in Bloomington, Indiana. Today, she lives in Tempe, Arizona, with her partner, Rick. Julie spends her free time camping, gardening, traveling, cooking, napping and fretting over her three children, Jamie, Jenna and Greg. She was at home getting ready for work on the morning of Sept. 11. She wrote her essay around Oct. 1.
September 11, 2001, turned out to be one of those days you will never forget where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. Since it was only 5:48 a.m. Arizonatime, I was watching the morning news while getting ready for another ordinary day at work. Pictures of a fire at the World Trade Center caught my attention since I am originally from New York and have relatives that work nearby.
The television reported that witnesses had seen a plane crash into one of the towers. As I stood in my bedroom watching, I saw a second plane approaching and gasped in horror as it appeared to slam into the second tower. Not trusting my comprehension of what I had just seen, I listened intently to the newscasters for their interpretation. They speculated that perhaps failed navigation equipment was misguiding planes either approaching or taking off from one of the three area airports. When a third plane hit the Pentagon, I realized something evil was amiss and I became worried about my son, Greg, who works across from theSearsTowerinChicago, which suddenly seemed a likely target.
I stood transfixed to the television for about two hours watching and wondering how these events would impact life as we knew it. By this time, it became apparent that this was the work of terrorists and I was not sure what to do: Should I go to work as planned or should I stay home and watch a piece of history unfold?
It has been almost three weeks now since that unbelievable day. My New Yorkrelatives are healing from the assault felt by all Americans; Chicago was not hit. However, we still live with the fear and uncertainty of what the future holds in store. Will our country go to war? It seems likely. And it seems a huge price to pay due to the hate of a few fanatics and their brainwashed following.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of life, but I am uplifted by the spirit and pride that have overtaken our country. And I am enormously grateful to the brave police and firefighters who are willing to risk their lives to protect us, and the men and women of our military who may be called upon to fight terrorism so that hopefully what happened inNew Yorkwill not happen again, on American soil or anywhere else in our world. September 11, 2001, impacted everyone in our country and abroad and will be a day that lives on in our memories through eternity.