I was working at Conner's in downtown Westfield on September 11th. I was the cashier at the front of the office products, cards and gift store. Jane was working in the back. I was working in the front. Jane came walking down the aisle and said, "A plane just flew into the World Trade Center Tower. This was maybe just after ten o'clock in the morning. I looked at her thinking small plane, mechanical problem or something. And then a customer walked through the front door and said, "Did you hear about the plane hitting the tower in New York." And then George, the store owner came down the aisle with more detail and it was like the world had suddenly gone surreal, that we'd all lost our grip on reality. And then the second plane hit the second tower and it was- Oh my God. What in the world is going on and what's next? Later I learned about the plane headed for the pentagon and the one that had already hit it and how the people on flight 93 deterred the terrorists so they crashed in a field, sacrificing themselves to save many more lives in Washington.
That's when I had my first experience of feeling vulnerable as an American. How could something like this happen in a big powerful country like this? Where were all the safety measures we thought were in place to protect us from terrorism? ''
I remember buying a bunch of small flags on sticks that day and bringing them with me to the bus stop when I went to meet my daughter's bus. Every child in our neighborhood who got off the bus at our stop was given a flag that day.
It was an event that galvanized us as a nation, united us like nothing else had since Kennedy's assassination when I was in elementary school.
It should have been a wake up call for the land of the free, the home of the brave...it should have made us look more closely at who we are allowing into this country, looking deeper into their backgrounds. This is not the home of the terrorists- they have no business living here, walking among us wishing us harm. If any one comes to this country it should be to live in peace, not to turn on the people who welcomed them and accepted them.
All these years later I still feel the repercussions of 9/11.
We can't let it happen again.