Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11

Today is 9/11 and my thoughts have been consumed with breastfeeding. The kids have regressed somewhat and I worry how we are going to fit 8-10 feedings a day in (as the lactation consultant recommended) when it takes me 30 mins to wake each kid up and I have to feed 2 for about half an hour each (assuming they are actively eating). I'll post more tomorrow on the lactation consultant meeting.

It is almost like the entire day passed before I truly realized it was 9/11. I think it is the most defining moment of my generation so far and it certainly was something that overshadowed my legal education. On September 10th I was in Washington, D.C. doing "first round" interviews for jobs. I was interviewing in D.C. and Boston (so Husband had some options). I think I had 12 interviews in a hotel in D.C. and it was weird because we had them in actual hotel rooms - with beds in the room. 12 was a little over-the-top, but the economy was already faltering and I was hoping to have options since so many of my classmates did not.

I was flying home that night to Boston (I think it was the 7:30 shuttle) from Regan National Airport. But thanks to storms we sat on the plane on the ground for hours - until right before the 10:00 pm Regan curfew (which existed pre-9/11). We were literally the last flight that left. Back in Boston I made Husband stop for food at McDonald's before heading back to our apartment in Medford (I was starving). We talked about the interviews and I was pretty wiped.

The next day I went to school per the usual - my favorite class - Corporations (one of the reasons I am a corporate lawyer). The class attracted quite a few LLM students - foreign lawyers who come to the U.S. to get "master's" in law and hopefully practice for several years in New York or other big city law firms. Many had suitcases to fly to L.A. and other parts because it was interview season. A friend in the class somehow got the word - we did have internet in each classroom but many students didn't use laptops (now everyone probably does). She made me call Husband who told me the news. The professor announced that flights were cancelled because of an "event" and that students who were supposed to fly should check after class on their flights. I drove home on EMPTY streets - winding my way along Memorial Drive and listening to Mattie in the Morning who had suspended regular programming to play the news. Husband had already hung an American flag in our window. We spent all day on the couch watching the news.

We were thankful I had left D.C. when I did - who knows what could have happened. I could have ended up on a plane that was taken or I could have been stuck for quite a few days there. It was important for us to be together and I am glad we were.

9/11 left an impression throughout that interview season - everything was "off". Not only were jobs difficult to come by but no one's heart was in the "game playing" aspect of it all. It made my fellow Big Firm classmates appreciate having a job and taking our summer work seriously.

I always wonder what "generation" I am a part of. Sometimes the criteria show I'm Generation X and other times Y. But I really think we are generation 9/11. Where were you when you learned about 9/11?


Liz Jimenez said...

I was at my first job post-grad school. A guidance counselor in Wakefield, second week on the job. By the time word got around what was happening, all of the news websites were down. I frantically called my dad, the most frequent flier I know. I figured he was OK, since I would have known if he had been in Boston the day before, but I felt a lot better once I heard he was in Ohio.

Looking forward to hearing about the LC. Don't let the "8-10" or regressions get you down. It's totally normal, just take it one feeding at a time and try not to focus too much on the big picture.

H said...

sigh-i was so surprised when I found myself getting emotional on the way to school this morning, listening to Mattie reminisce. I remember well their coverage on the 12th.

I was actually hoping the kids wouldn't want to go there today, and thankfully they mostly didn't. We had a big moment of silence, and i had to get in the faces of our resident fifth grade asses who thought staying silent was funny.

What was really weird was the fact that I remember exactly where I was standing in my fifth grade classroom in Reading when I heard, and now those kids are seniors in high school, and my current kids were only three. They don't know the fear and shock we all felt that day. The feeling that we were not safe, in our own country.

Any mommy, I remember very clearly calling looking for you, knowing you had been in DC.

We all have a lot to be thankful for.

Anonymous said...

Every year, I tell myself I won't cry on 9/11, and every year, I find myself bawling. This year it was when Elliot in the Morning had a moment of silence at each time when one of the 4 planes went down.

I was working in downtown D.C. on 9/11. Without reliving all the crazy details again, I will just say that I am so grateful to my friend Jaime for getting me out of the city, as we drove with the sunroof open due to rumors that another plane was headed towards D.C. She took me to Jordan's office, and he and I headed home together to lay on the couch and watch CNN for the rest of the day.

Natalie said...

i remember i was at work and someone ran out of one of the offices saying a plane had hit the WTC in NYC. I didn't believe her since she tended to be a bit dramatic. Eventually nearly the entire building was online reading updates or down in our cafeteria watching the news unfold. They even set up tvs on each floor so we could stay posted. It was our building manager's birthday that day and I remember seeing him so sad that day. I remember watching the towers fall on tv with some of my colleagues and then i ran into that building manager in the stairwell and he held me while i cried. but quickly that day became about the thousands of exchange students that were in the U.S. or on their way here that I felt responsible for. We assembled focus groups and discussion forums and reached out in every way we could to let them know that even though this horrendous thing happened, they were safe. It's funny, when we reached out to those students we were given such words of encouragement as they wanted to make sure WE were okay. Students from Bosnia, S. Africa, and other parts of the world where countless tragedies have taken place in front of them felt they could provide words of comfort to us Americans, many of whom had just witnessed real terror for the first time.

Gretchen said...

I was in a Starbucks in Alexandria, VA when I heard about the first crash. Then drove right past the Pentagon never knowing what would happen just a little while later. Made my way to my job in Georgetown, D.C., where we spent the day watching workers walking home from downtown. My friends Chad and Tamara came in to check on me and I remember just being awestruck by the whole situation. So hard to process.

T. said...

It was one of those perfect, beautiful September days in NYC. I used to remember exactly what I wore that day, but now it escapes me. I was working, at 47th and Park, so thankfully not downtown. We had just moved offices, and the new digs had plasma screens all over the walls tuned to CNBC and Bloomberg etc. A woman I worked with got a call from someone on the ferry that a plane had gone into one of the towers. So, we all immediately started watching the TV and watched in horror as it all unfolded, while at the same time trying to track down all of our loved ones. The girl next to me, and one of my close friends in my group, found out that her sister was actually at the WTC for a meeting that morning and immediately left to wander the city looking for her. (she ended up being found in a department store, dazed and confused, looking for shoes since she had lost hers in the frantic escape and long walk - thank God she was okay).

I ended up leaving work, taking out money from the ATM, and walking the few short blocks to my apartment, which was right next to the United Nations complex. Spent the rest of the day watching CNN. When we couldn't take it anymore, we decided we needed to eat and went to one of the restaurants with sidewalk tables along 2nd Avenue. We were not the only ones with this idea. The streets were deserted, not a car in sight, but every sidewalk table was filled with people trying to process what had happened. Then, the most moving thing...a caravan of fire trucks made its way down 2nd Avenue. They were the only vehicles we saw the entire time. And as they made their way, everyone started clapping. That's what I will remember most about that day.

In the coming weeks, we'd get used to the smell, which was indescribable and defies any awfulness you could possibly imagine. But I can't help but think about how united our country was during those weeks, how proud we all were to be Americans, how the rest of the world supported us (remember the French headline - "we are all Americans") and how things have changed so much in the last seven years.

Almostima said...

I had just started law school a few weeks earlier. We tried to give blood and waited in line for hours but then they closed down the blood center.

I remember thinking that this would mark a defining shift in our in, life before 9/11 and life after. I thought everyone would pitch in, that it would revolutionize our society like WWII did.

And it makes me so sad that after all that pain, and all that loss, America hasn't lived up to what it could have been.

If you didn't lose a loved one on 9/11, or have family in the armed services, you would never be able to tell the difference that something so dramatic happened here.

It's like, we're supposed to buy Hummers, keep shopping, buy a few Tobey Keith albums (burn the Dixie Chicks in effigy), and shred the constitution and that makes us patriotic.

What happened to victory gardens? conservation? rationing? job training like rosie-the-rivetor? re-tooling for the new world we find ourselves in?

(ok...gotta stop the rant)