Where Were You?

Do I need to say more with the today's date?

Where was I?  Well for my husband and I, the day was a special one.  We had traveled to Walt Disney World for our 5th anniversary the week before.  Staying at the Wilderness Lodge on the Disney Property I had managed to secure us a spot as the "Flag Family" on the morning of September 11, 2001.

So on September 11, we were up early.  We needed to be in the lobby and ready to go by 7:30.  We were there by 7:15.  We were met by a cast member (a woman who's name I don't remember after 12 years) who took us up to the top floor and then we climbed some stairs to the roof.

The view was incredible.  It was a beautiful morning.

Steve was the one who raised the first flag, the American Flag.  We then raised the state flag, the WDW park flag and the two flags that were for the hotel.  I snapped as many photos as I could.  The cast member was kind enough to take a few as well.


It was such a lovely day and we were in no rush.  We enjoyed the time we had and I remember that once we were through, as we headed back to the lobby, we passed by a private nook in the hotel which was set up for a wedding reception.

When all was said and done, we were given a certificate that commemorated the fact that we had been the Flag Family that day.

Before heading out to enjoy the rest of our day, we stopped to have breakfast in the Whispering Canyon Cafe, one of the hotel's restaurants.  For those who don't know, the Whispering Canyon Cafe is anything but whispering.  It is a boisterous, fun, "wild west" type eatery.  A place where if you dare to ask for ketchup, yo may find everyone in the restaurant getting up and bringing their bottle to your table.  (That is if your server hasn't already brought you every bottle that he could find in the area).

The atmosphere that day was like any other day.  There was laughing and yelling across the room.  I vaguely recall several tables chanting "Let's go Yankees" (which in such an establishment was not surprising).  We had a wonderful meal.  All seemed to be well with the world.

As we know it was not.

We were in the Magic Kingdom when the park was closed.  We knew what had happened by that time, but the seriousness and severity hit home when instead of the usual park background music and attraction noise, we heard the announcement that the park was closing, all cast members should escort guests out according to Emergency Plan A.  Definitely not something you hear on your vacation in Disney World.

With the crowds we headed out of the park. (We were at the "back" in Liberty Square when the announcement was made.) There were cast member lining the streets and some of them were not in "costume" but must have been from the corporate office as they were wearing suits (something you don't see on Main Street USA).

We took a boat back to our hotel.  It was a long process, but orderly.  With all the parks shut down for the day (they would be reopened the next morning with new security checks in place that exist to this day), we spent the day at our hotel.  We watched the news in disbelief, as the rest of the nation did.

It is understandable that I don't recall much else of our vacation.  We were supposed to head home on Friday, but due to the situation and a tropical storm that hit, we didn't head from Florida to New Jersey until Sunday afternoon.  And then, instead of flying, we took a train.  (We called Amtrak on Wednesday and the first train they could get us on was Sunday afternoons.)  It was a LONG, packed train ride home, 27 or so hours that I hope never to repeat.

As we finally pulled into Newark Penn Station on Monday evening and headed from the train to the station proper, we passed by flyer after flyer with photos of people who were "missing."  Although it had been nearly a week since the attacks at that time, it was seeing those photos that really brought it home for me.  After a long, draining ride, we were home.  But faces; those people will never be home again.  It is that memory, that image, that will NEVER leave me and always remind me of the importance of loved ones (be they family or friend).

It's been 12 years.  We will never forget.  How could we?  Don't we all have memories of that day?  Aren't there images that we carry with us that will never leave us?  And don't we appreciate each other just a little bit more ever year on September 11th when we remember how much we lost and how much we need to hold on to what we have?

It's been said before, but bears repeating...today (and I hope every day) don't forget to let those who are meaningful to you know it.  Don't let a day go by without telling someone you care; that you love them.  We all need that, no matter what day it is.

Comments

  1. I'll never forget where you were either. I think it's odd that I often thing of where others were not just myself. I traveled the weekend after it happened to AC and my parents traveled to Seattle and a cruise. It was crazy, the airport were so quiet.

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