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Family Matters Blog: Blogger Remembers the Tragedy of 9/11

By Heather Forsgren Weaver
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2010 – Heather Forsgren Weaver of American Forces Press Service is a regular contributor to Family Matters. Heather's been heavily involved in this blog from the start. She edits, helps write and posts content on a daily basis.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Firefighters work to put out the flames moments after a hijacked jetliner crashed into the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2001. DoD photo by U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jason Ingersoll
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In this blog, Heather remembers Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists flew planes into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center in New York and heroes on Flight 93 crashed their plane rather than risk it being flown into the United States Capitol.

The Sky Was So Blue

I'll always remember how blue the sky was that September morning. The pictures on TV don't do it justice.

I was a reporter covering the mobile-phone industry and there was a big press conference on Capitol Hill about funding 9-1-1 service, timed for Sept. 11 – 9-1-1. About midway through the press conference, all of the lawmakers' cell phones started ringing. Everyone laughed and the phones were quickly turned off. It would be another 30 minutes before we would be evacuated and told that planes had hit the World Trade Center in New York.

Arriving outside, it was chaos, with rumors circulating wildly: a bomb had gone off at the State Department, a bomb had gone off in nearby Crystal City, Va., and a plane had hit the Pentagon.

Unfortunately, that last one was true, and I still remember the shock of seeing the smoke, which I would later learn was from the Pentagon as I – and several others – started to walk downtown

I remember the rest of the day in slow motion – walking a mile to my office only to be told that the National Press Building had also been evacuated, riding a Metro train that changed destinations three times and finally ended up at the stop closest to my house, and waiting for my husband to walk the seven miles from Crystal City to our home because although no bomb had exploded, no one was allowed to get their cars out of the garage.

Last year, Elaine Wilson blogged in "Taking Time to Remember" about how the events of 9/11 changed the direction of her life.

I can't say the same, but as the days, weeks, months and now years have passed, I have often been reminded of that day, when more people lost their lives at the Pentagon than had been killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Reading the stories of those who were killed that day, I remember feeling a sense of loss that I would never get to meet these people.

Since then, I have walked on the hill in Arlington Cemetery overlooking the Pentagon and said a prayer for those lost. And I have visited the Pentagon 9/11 memorial and grieved anew for the loss of that seemingly perfect day when the sky was so beautiful and it looked as if nothing bad could happen.

I remember gaping at the hole in the Pentagon during a Unity Walk a few weeks after the attacks and celebrating less than a year later when repairs were completed.

Now, I take time to personally thank every servicemember I see in uniform and I pray for those currently serving to keep us safe.

I'm also mindful that since I was on Capitol Hill that dreadful day, the heroes of Flight 93 probably saved my life. How do you repay such a sacrifice?

My neighborhood has its own 9/11 Memorial Garden. I will visit it tomorrow and remember knowing that whatever I do, it will never be enough.

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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