Monday, September 11, 2006

09/11 - and then there was Anna

It's been a sobering day. I watched some of CNN 's re-run of coverage from 09/11/01 and it sure brought back memories. My husband and I were in Nova Scotia on vacation. We had flown up via Logan airport in Boston to Halifax and then rented a car to drive out to where my parents had rented a house on the ocean. It was beautiful weather and a gorgeous location. After a few days there, we took off to drive the Cabot Trail around Cape Breton. We stopped at the half way point to stay at the exquisite Keltic Lodge Resort on Middle Head Pennisula in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On the morning of 09/11, we took the 1/2 mile trail out to the very end of the Pennisula. On our way back, my husband's cell phone rang. It surprised us because most of Nova Scotia at the time had terrible or no cell phone coverage. It was his brother calling from downtown Manhattan to tell him about the plane flying into the World Trade Center. Fortunately, he was about a mile away from the towers. While on the phone, the second plane hit. We ran to the lodge game room where there was a big screen TV and turned it on. We watched the coverage and as other guests walked through, we explained what was happening. I called my parents back at the beach house to tell them what was going on because I knew there was no TV there and they only got CBC1 on the radio.

Then the plane hit the Pentagon and I remember as clear as day that my husband turned to me and said, "Your country is under attack". I instantly felt sick and my entired gut was tied in knots. I couldn't eat the rest of the day as we drove directly back to be with my parents. We had been scheduled to return shortly but the tiny Halifax airport was now home to over 150 flights who were dirverted when the North American airspace was shut down. And besides, Logan was completely shut down. We thought we would just drive our rental car home but no rental cars were being allowed over the border! We were stuck. We finally drove to Halifax and secured a scarce seat on a train which would take us on a 30-some-odd hour train ride around Maine and through Canada to Windsor Ontario. Our car was parked at the Detroit Airport, just across the Detroit river. Except you had to go over the Ambassador Bridge - a 20 minute drive, on a normal day in history. We hopped in a shared cab with another couple and proceeded to take our 3 hour trip across the bridge and home. I remember stepping through the door of our home, wondering what life would be like after this historical moment.

Fortunately for me though, I don't just have to think about the terrorist attacks on 09/11. Two years ago today on 09/11/04, I was boarding a plane in Amsterdam with my husband and a little bit of a thing, bald-headed, with a cold. It seemed strange to be flying to the US on that day and I couldn't help but wonder if it was so smart to be on a big plane. Still we were coming home after our third and final trip to Russia to bring home our daughter Anna. I will never forget 09/11/01 and what I felt that day. But I also celebrate another 09/11, because a new and promising future began.


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