I live near Annapolis, Maryland and a lot of my neighbors commute to offices in DC everyday. People around here work for the FBI, CIA, NSA, and other government agencies (not that they can tell us anything about what they do). We knew people who were in the Pentagon that day.
I was on my way back from a quick trip to the store when I heard the news of the first plane on the radio. The announcers were speculating about whether or not it was an accident when the second plane hit and I thought, "That's no accident!". I hurried home, turned on the TV and called my husband at the church where he was working at the time and told him what was happening. They had a TV at the church, but it was hooked up to a vcr, not to cable TV. He turned it on and rigged up a make-shift antenna to get the signal of the local ABC station and everybody there gathered around. At home, I didn't want to be alone and I called one of my friends whose son was in my daughter's class and we talked a while as we watched the news.
Turned out lot of the parents in our neighborhood were picking their kids up early from school, just wanting to have them at home with them, I guess, or maybe panicking about their safety. I had called the school and was assured that the kids were fine and they were trying to go on with school as usual so the kids wouldn't be frightened. But my daughter told me she was one of only a couple of kids left in her class by the end of the day.
The oddest thing to me was the lack of planes in the sky. We live in the flight path of BWI airport so there are always airliners flying overhead...but not on that day...and not for several days afterward. What we did see was fighter jets...we're close enough that they would turn around overhead as they made their regular patrols over DC. We're used to seeing the Blue Angels come to town for air shows over the Naval Academy, but these guys meant business.
I have friends in New York City who say it's hard to take when people tell them that it's time to move on with their lives.
When you hear the phrase "move on", you think about leaving it behind you and getting back to life as it was. But that doesn't happen with something like this, and I don't think it should. Yes, you have to get on with life, but something like this stays with you, along with the lessons you learned that day. We all have our own political viewpoints, but I don't think today is a day to argue about those...just a day to remember what it means to you to be an American.
It's a day to remember to tell people you love them and to make the most of every day. Not because, as some would ominously say, you never know when it will be your last. (I think it's too depressing to think of it like that.) But we should make the most of every day because every day has the potential to be a life-changer, for you or for someone else. Every day is precious, no matter how ordinary it may seem.