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Susan Porter |
Contributor's location on 9/11:
11 July 2002
How did you witness history on September 11th?|
When I look back now, as the first anniversary approaches,
my first thoughts remember how beautiful the day dawned.
I live north of Baltimore and that Tuesday the sky was
bright blue and cloudless. I am an insurance agent
for a major insurance company and I was heading from
home to take a look at a policyholder's new house. It
was just about a mile away. On almost any day, I never
listen to the radio, always a CD. That morning I had
the radio on. As I pulled up to my policyholder's house
the female DJ made a sarcastic remark about what a slow
news day it was. It was approaching 8:50. I stepped out
of my car for a few minutes to take a photo of the house
when I realized the camera was broken. I got back into the
car. The DJ's comment was "I spoke too soon...apparently
a small plane has just struck one of the towers at the
World Trade Center. I called my husband, who was still
at home and told him to turn on the TV. I was going back
to pick up another camera. I walked in the house, he was sitting at his desk. I went over turned on the Today Show.
It just showed a smouldering tower. I stood and watched for
a few minutes, then said "gotta go". I had not gone a
block when my cell phone rang. My husband in a disbelieving
flat voice said Susan, I just saw, I can't believe it another plane has hit the other tower. This is NO accident!
I forgot about going back to the policyholders house and
instead called my office and told the staff to turn on the
TV. The Baltimore Beltway was so backed up. There were no
accidents. It just appeared that everyone had a cell phone
up to their ear and were just drifting in traffic. I remember having a difficult time finding a station on the
radio that was reporting the events. I thought this was
strange. I finally found a talk radio show that was reporting the event. When I finally made it to my office
the staff was huddled around the TV crying and trying
to make sense of what they were seeing. I tried not to cry, but then word came that the Pentagon had been hit and a fourth plane was unaccounted for. I felt confused and terribly fearful. One of my staff and I always discuss world events and talked about which group of terriorists may have done this. Finally someone said, oh my God!, the
tower is falling! Everyone was sobbing. It was shocking. I remember saying "all those poor people" another staff person said, I didn't know anyone hated me so much to do this to my countrymen. I told the staff to leave; to go home to their families. By noon our office building was completely empty. I was able to get through to my husband and he said he was going to pick up our son from school. I decided to drive the back way home to avoid the beltway. All routes into Baltimore City were closed off. Once we were all home we just sat around the TV. I just remember tears welling up and running down my face. My children looked so afraid and there was really nothing to say. Finally, well after dark, I decided to take a break from the TV and I walked out back into the darkness. There was no moon but a beautiful starlit sky. It was so very quiet, so strange. I heard my son in the distance, mom where are you? I walked over to him and put my arm around him. He stopped suddenly. What is that noise? We knew there were no planes flying, but when we looked up we could see a jet very high moving across the night sky. I tried not to get choked up in front of my son. That's our military jet, Alex. They are going to protect us tonight. We walked back up to the house arms around each other feeling a little bit safer but knowing it was going to be a long long night.
Has your life changed because of September 11, 2001?
I have not flown since August 18th, 2001. I'm just as happy
to take a local vacation. I pay more attention to the small
silly things and not get upset about anything. Just 2 weeks
after September 11, our offices were flooded when a pipe
broke under the building in the middle of the night. I figured so what. It's a mess we will need to relocate, all
the furniture is destroyed, but guess what no one was hurt
and no one died. It's just one of those things. Also I have
always been a news junkie and I had a hard time turning
off the news channel even when I went to bed. September 11th is always in the back of my mind and whenever I see
the images from that day tears come immediately.
What do you think should be remembered about September 11th?
We should never never forget. We should remember who are the true heros in our life. We should remember how Americans
pulled together and showed their compassion and generosity.
We should love our country, try to respect and support
our military and leaders. They are here for our good.
We also as a people became a little kinder to each other
Did you fly an American flag after the events of September 11th?
We have flown the flag since the night of September 11.
I have always felt respectful towards the flag..now when
I look at it, I see 226 years of pride and sacrafice.
Susan Porter, Smithsonian Story #67, The September 11 Digital Archive,
11 July 2002, <http://911digitalarchive.org/smithsonian/details/67>.|
724 words, 3700 characters
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