Over the past week or so I have had a chance to reflect a lot on the events our area is observing today- the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Carla and the 10th anniversary of the 9/011 attacks. As I read our readers’ memories of the great hurricane that is still the storm other hurricanes are measured by, I was thankful that my family lived through the storm safely. I was only about 19 months old then so I do not remember anything about the storm – only what I have been told and read over the years.
I have lived through many hurricanes and fortunately have survived unharmed each time. Each time one threatens our area I am concerned and nervous and each time we are spared I am relieved and thankful.
Today as the country observed the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a part of me is sad. It is the sadness that I felt days after the attacks occurred and I began to allow myself to really absorb everything that we and the national media had been reporting.
Yes, I remember where I was when I learned of the attacks and what my first thoughts were. I had just left a meeting of a high school service group that I worked with in Cuero and turned on my car to go to work. I knew we were working on the final installment of the 40th anniversary of Hurricane Carla –that was to be the day’s task, but all of that changed pretty drastically.
One of the radio announcers came on the radio and said there was a report of a plane hitting the World Trade Center and there was fire. As I drove to Victoria he broke in with more reports of possible attacks on the Pentagon, the White house and the second plane hitting the tower. The reports were confusing – things were happening, but he wasn’t sure what was happening.
When I arrived at work every television in the building was on and people were gathered around watching in disbelief. We soon began getting calls from the public wanting to know what was going on or what we had heard. This was before the era of instant social media.
We went to work reporting what we knew and finding local residents who may have been in one of the areas attacked. It was a busy day, not much time to reflect on what was going on even though we would stop and watch TV or read the AP wire reports.
As I age there seems to be many more times added to my “I-remember-where- I-was-when- this- happened” list.
Let me recap some of the more significant ones:
President Reagan was shot – I was in college. I came home from class and turned on the TV hoping to watch my daily dose of soap operas – the news of the shooting was unfolding as I watched. My roommate, some friends and I were glued to the TV the rest of the day.
Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on takeoff- January 1986. I was at the DPS office in Victoria reporting on a man who was being honored for pulling another man from a burning vehicle.
Branch Davidian standoff - February 1993. I was in Houston preparing to go to the rodeo. I was at work when the standoff ended that April.
Oklahoma City federal building bombing - April 1995. I was waiting to have a preventative medical test conducted. It was the same day the Houston Post announced it was closing.
Space Shuttle Columbia exploded over East Texas– February 2003. It was my birthday weekend. I was home, relaxing, when I turned on the computer to check emails and saw the announcement.
We live history every day, but it takes big events that shatter our comfort zones to make us stop and think about life and the value we put on it. These events change our lives and how we are able to go about our daily lives.
And we keep going and keep living as we try to make sense of the events. That is the American way.
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