September 11, 2013: 9/11

Today is 9/11. The 12th anniversary of a horrible day in US history. Like every other American, I remember the details of that date. From where I was at when I heard the news to the raw fear that I felt, I remember as though it was yesterday.

9/11/01 started as an ordinary day. Blue skies brightened my non-eventful drive to work. Grant was dropped off at daycare and Zach and Grant; at school. The boys were eight, five and one year old.

My first agenda item of the morning was a conference call with a client from Onawa, Iowa. As I was concentrating on listening to the two physicians on the corresponding speaker phone, a young Lutz manager kept popping her head into my office. I tried to ignore the interruptions out of courtesy to my clients. As her persistence became annoying, she finally gave me a vocal interruption.

"Sandy, you need to get off the phone and come watch the TV. Planes are flying into buildings in New York."

I repeated her statement to my clients and we all agreed to end the call and engage in the apparent world news happening around us.

Then I saw on our conference big screen what had everyone's attention and led to my colleague's persistence in getting my attention. The US was being attacked. It was surreal. No one could make sense of what was going on as the television reporters tried to piece together the factual set of events that included the unbelievable.

Life stopped. There was nothing normal left in that day. This was the first day of living in fear of being an American. We were targeted and attacked. Each person in the Lutz and Company conference room felt vulnerable.

As the story unfolded, it was reported that President Bush was flying into Offut Air Force Base for protection. With this statement, pure panic set in. Our entire city was now a potential target as we housed the leader of a country so hated that others would sacrifice their lives to fuel this hate.

With a heavy heart and fear for my family's safety, I collected my kids. My last vivid memory was hugging the boys as I delivered them to the safety of our home. Yet I was unsure of what safe was any more. Nothing felt safe.

All I could do was pray for God's mercy in watching over my family and our country. Along with other Americans, I felt helpless as I prayed and watched in horror as the towers fell and people died senseless deaths. We will never forget.


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