Tuesday, September 11

The greatest is love.

Me and the boys were happily making our way to Wegmans this morning to meet up with friends. I was tearing up at all the "proud to be an American" songs being played by country radio in honor of 9/11 and remembering where I was that day.

For those of you who don't know, when flight 77 hit the Pentagon, I was on the other side of the Pentagon underground in the Metro station. The station manager came out screaming "BOMB! Everybody out! The second one is coming!" Mass hysteria ensued as about 70 people tried to clamber up the escalators. People were hurdling the entry barricades and one woman was stuck with her baby stroller. Others were getting run over because they'd tripped - I've never seen such chaos, and I'm so glad there weren't more people. I saw my coworker, Mary, and we made our way up and out of the station.

Once outside, I saw black smoke rising from the west side of the Pentagon - the Metro station is on the east side - and government workers being evacuated. What was the most disconcerting was all the uniformed armed servicemen and women running out of the building crying and on cell phones. I heard some on their calls and realized it was a commercial plane and not a bomb that had hit the Pentagon. I remember one lady in her Navy blues saying, "WHAT?! The World Trade Center was hit?!"

Mary and I made our way to my brother's apartment building where in the lobby we were with at least 30 others watching the news coverage on a little 19" tv and that's where I saw the first tower fall. It was a miracle I was able to make a collect call from a payphone to call my mom and let her know I was okay.

It took us 2 hours to go less than three miles when my roommate was able to pick me up. Instead of angry, impatient drivers, however, everyone was very patient and willing to let another car join the flow of traffic that day. Most had their windows rolled down and people waved you in.

What a horrible day that was, but I felt like everyone re-examined what meant the most to them. The Alan Jackson song, "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)" is the one that brings it all back for me every time.

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Rising against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?
Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty cause you’re a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother to tell her you loved her;
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened,
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset for the first time in ages,
Speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow,
And go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent home movie you’re watchin And turn on I Love Lucy

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
or stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family,
Thank God you had somebody to love?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man;
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran.
But I know Jesus, and I talk to God,
And I remember this from when I was young:
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us,
And the greatest is love.

And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?