In February of 2001 my sweet husband and I were married and spent part of our honeymoon in Las Vegas. Neither one of us had ever been to Vegas and we had a great time, stayed in a fabulous place, but we were ready to come home so we could start the rest of the honeymoon traveling the Oregon Coast. In the cab on the way to the airport the cabbie asked where we were headed and when we said Seattle, he said, “OH! You don’t want to go there, they had a horrible earthquake”. Well of course panic ensued and after several phone calls and a diverted trip to Boise with an over night stay and then on the Seattle we found our house standing, sweet step daughter in fine form and we headed off to the Oregon Coast, all the while leaving the house in the capable hands of Juan and Inez.
Imagine my delight when I was invited to attend a conference a few months later, in Las Vegas and I could bring my new sweet husband. We arrived with 3 other co-workers to stay at Mandalay Bay. The hotel was magnificent, our room was beautiful and our host gave us run of the house. We played at the shark reef, saw the Blue Man Group and Circque De soleil actually went to a food show and indulged in a spa treatment like nothing we had ever experienced before. The meals we ate were 5 star and I even managed to get some work done.
On the morning of Sept 11 I was going to go back to the food show and sweet husband was going to go play some more in Vegas and then we were schedule to fly back to Seattle that afternoon. I was getting ready for the day and sweet husband had just hopped into the tub when the phone rang. “You guys aren’t going anywhere today, turn on your TV! America is under attack” is what my co-worker was shouting at the other end of the telephone. We are not big TV watchers, particularly in the morning, so I turned it on. I truly do not know what happened next from my perspective, but my sweet husband said that I kept repeating, ‘Oh my god’ He in our short time together says that he had never seen me in such a panic. We stood there in shock and we both came to the same conclusion, this must be happening everywhere across the country. He immediately called his sweet daughter and talked with her mother, she too had not been watching TV, but knew instantly what was happening. She went into panic mode and when we queried sweet daughter last night she says she doesn’t remember a lot, expect her mom was scared and that she wasn’t allowed to watch TV. Sweet husband quickly surmised that Seattle was safe for the time being and that we would be home soon. As he was talking I knew that we would need a car. I must have been dressed, although I don’t remember doing so and I announced to Sweet Husband that I was going to get a rental car, just in case we needed to drive home. He has since told me that he thought I was over reacting in regards to the car, but some survival instinct took over and I sprinted off the quarter mile to the elevator (the hotels in Vegas are BIG).
It was lucky that we were in a city that is inhabited by late risers, there was hardly a line at the car rental desk, but there was a sign. NO MORE CARS! I again turned into a sprinter and headed out to the taxi line. Again no line, so I jumped into a cab and asked the cabbie to take me to a car rental place, I just might be driving to Seattle. I think of this cab driver occasionally, he must has thought I was nuts, but we bonded in the short drive as he told me he as a Vietnam Vet and he knew our country was at war and I told him about my two brothers being vets and my dad was a Vet of WWII, He was one of my rescuers that morning and he waited for me just in case there weren’t any more cars and I would need a ride. I walked in to a short line where there were frantic people trying to get to San Francisco, St Louis, Florida, we all had the same goal, to get home. When my turn arrived I was told the only thing they had left was a 15 passenger van. I’ll take it! “We will be charging a $1500 drop off fee, because you will be taking it out of state”, I was told. Fuck you is what I thought, thank you is what I said as I took the keys. I didn’t even want to take the time to go into a tirade, they weren’t worth it. I waved to my cab buddy and headed back to the Mandalay Bay to park my 15 passenger van, where hopefully we wouldn’t need it.
I went back to the room, hugged my sweet husband and I saw the towers come down on the TV. The shock I felt when the towers came down, is something I can’t even get my head around. When we found out about the pentegon and the crash in Pennsylvania, we thought for sure we were in all out war. We had no way of knowing any different.
Being in Vegas when there is a national tragedy is surreal. I didn’t even know there were TV’s in the bar’s downstairs, but now all bars were packed and all eyes tuned into what was being broadcast. The slots and tables were empty. No one was interested in playing Las Vegas style. The food show was cancelled; the rental cars were all snatched up and I thought about the hundred of thousands of dollars that was wasted while 3000 miles away people were dying in terrorist attacks, it didn’t equate to anything I could understand. Later I heard that people were buying cars or trucks or motor homes,rental vans, anything with wheels so they could get home.
We spent the rest of the day in shock and speculation. We were persuaded by my co workers to delay the drive home by a day for whatever reason. The company I worked for at the time would most likely pick up the bill for the drive home and by this time we knew the airports would be closed for a while, so we just sat tight. The evening of the 11th we found ourselves in a suite of one of the companies that had displays at the now cancelled food show. I can’t recall why we were even there, but we were huddled around the TV awaiting the speech from the president. We were hopeful, and we weren’t disappointed, he had kinds words for all of us….we were united. I can tell you now that is the first and last time I spent any time set aside to listen to this president. I thought this was his finest hour in the way that it brought our nation together and I was proud to be a part of our great nation.
We left Las Vegas, we got home with no additional problems. It was a weird trip, with not a lot of talking and a heavy atmostpher. We were in control of our own little world, and we were safe.
But I answer now the question that I asked in the previous post. Are we safer now? No, I don’t think so. The continuity that we had on 9/11 and the few weeks after have been squandered and lost in the ego of the current administration. We have been falsely fortified with words and placations, with things to make us feel better about traveling or even our everyday lives. I hate what was done to our country by the terrorists but even more I hate the self edification of egos that have sent us down a path of destruction. My generations Pearl Harbor, the one we call 9/11, has become a crutch and a tool for this administrations goal of war. Me? I don’t want any part of it. In the mean time I wait for the other shoe to drop.
More perspectives and links!
I was home all day glued to the television. I couldn’t turn it off. It did compel me to get in contact with everyone that I seemed to be fueding with. Life is too short to push people out of your life. It can be taken away in a blink of an eye. I would like to think I am a kinder and more forgiving person because of the awful events of that day. Gale
I was several months into my first retirement and fast asleep, Jody burst into the bedroom yelling turn on the TV and I spent the next three days glued to the tube. I was dazed and confused and madder than hell, that feeling hasn’t changed much in five years. I have always felt safe in my own country, but being the perfect politically correct society will be our demise. 80 year olds and toddlers should not be targets of the TSA. Do I feel safer, not really, but I don’t feel any more in danger. These guys are slow and methodical, look at the history. It’s just a matter of time. Uncle Spud
My daughter, then two, was having a playdate at our house with twin girls a little older than her. The other mom and I had to keep the television turned off because we didn’t want the kids watching it. It was agony not knowing what was going on. Later, when I could, I glued myself to the television for hours and hours and hours. I don’t feel safer. I love to travel in and out of the United States and frankly, since this botch of a war, I feel less safe when traveling. But I keep at it because it’s what I love to do with my family.Wendy Boucher
For some reason, I missed the news and I drove to work, parked, walked in and everyone and I mean EVERYONE was huddled around the TV in the hospital lobby. I asked what was going on and someone said that the World Trade Center building had collapsed. What!? Both of them? The rest of the day was worky worky and then glued to television. I remember surfing the channels and even MTV was covering the day. I just couldn’t believe that jets could bring down such huge buildings. I also remember the main image from the early coverage, the shots of those three shards of the building poking up. I thought that someone should save them for the future tasteful memorial. Meanwhile we have more tortuous travel. I find myself wishing that Bill Gates and the DOT would perfect AutomotivePilot version 1.0. I would dearly love to get in the care, punch in my destination and relax for the next several hours. I fully support our troops, but I do wish we would push diplomacy a bit harder. Royce
I remember like it was yesterday. I had left for work and was listening to the local talk radio station when they broke in and mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. At first it was believed to be a small plane. I remember driving, thinking, wow that sure ruined that pilots day. It was a very short time later that they mentioned the next plane. Then I knew that it was a much bigger issue. When the next plane hit the Pentagon I was freaking out and still driving to work. Leo was in St Louis on business and I had been calling him with each update. I guess that I felt helpless because I was alone and scared. I remember it as a very sureal day with every turn. I am sure that I will forget the feel from that day. As for feeling safer, I do when I fly, but will probably always feel that the world will never be the same. Take each day as it comes and never forget what was done to us. Don’t ever forget those that lost their lives or the cowards that believe they had a right to take them. Ellen
I was on my way to work and first heard about it on public radio. It took a few hours before the whole magnitude of what was happening really sunk in. The day just got darker and more surreal as it went on after that. I’m not sure I feel any safer today because I don’t believe the terrorists will ever try to target the things we are so openly trying to protect. Their whole point is to hit us where we’re the weakest and most vulnerable and when we least expect it. Don’t mean to be such a downer but that’s just how I see it. By the way, since we’re talkling about 9/11 – in case anyone is interested, check out all the bloggers participating in the 2996 project this weekend here. My tribute can be found here. Thanks.Jeff