Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Ago Today

Kaley was 13 and in the eighth grade. Lucas was 17 and a junior in high school. Dave had been working on a national scientific panel studying arsenic. His group had finished its report in Washington DC and they were scheduled to brief Bush advisors in the White House on September 11, 2001. The recommendation was to lower the levels of acceptable arsenic in the drinking water in the United States.

Dave had assigned other members of the committee to do the presentation at the White House because he had an important meeting back in Seattle on September 11. He took one of the last cross country flights out of DC on September 10 before the hijackings. His flight arrived at Sea-Tac at 2 AM, September 11 or 5 AM EST.

At our house, I would get up at 5:30 AM because Lucas would leave for school at 7 and Kaley would leave a little later. My routine was and still is to turn on the Today Show to watch while we eat breakfast. Of course, what I saw unfold on television that morning is burned into everybody's memories.

Dave had only been asleep for about three hours. But, I went upstairs into our bedroom and shook his shoulder and said, "We are being attacked!" He looked at me like I was nuts and I insisted, "You have got to get up and come and watch--they have flown a plane into a building in New York."

We did manage to get the kids off to school as usual but Dave's meeting was set for later in the morning so he watched the TV in complete disbelief. Together we watched the Twin Towers collapse. It was only in the days after that we learned about the hijackings and that the White House may have been a target. Dave learned that his friends had to run for their lives out of the White House. We shuddered at what might have been and were horrified at what was.

Interestingly, my Mom is 60 years older than her youngest grand child and only girl, Kaley. My mother was 13 and in the eighth grade sixty years before on December 7, 1941. Kaley's eighth grade project for history was to correspond with an older person to learn about the past. Naturally, she chose her Grandma and realized that they shared an incredible bond exactly 60 years apart. At the end of the year, Kaley had to give an oral presentation about her older person. She eloquently told about how her Grandma was scared after Pearl Harbor was bombed in the same way she was frightened when airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center.

Two young girls in history experienced two of our nation's worst moments.