My parents before me could tell you where they were when Kennedy was shot. My grand-parents, where they were when the bombs were dropped on Japan or the day WWII ended. But for my generation, well, we’ve had a few. Some of them good, like the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Some them not so good, like the explosion of the Challenger Spaceship. But I hope that the next generation is spared of another as horrible as what happened on September 11, 2001.
I was living in California at the time, but my boyfriend and I had come back to the Boston area for one of his best friends’ wedding. As with any trip to the East coast, for me it was filled with travel as I made sure to spend some time at my Mom’s and then time at my Dad’s. Having flown out I had no car and, being under 25, couldn’t rent one. So I used public transportation.
I took a train down towards Mom’s where I stayed a few days with her on Cape Cod. Then I packed myself up and boarded a bus. Back in high school this was a bus ride I took at least twice a year. Hopping on the bus in Hyannis, MA I settled myself in for the trip to Providence, RI. I could have ridden into Connecticut to arrive closer to my Dad’s but he wanted to spend a little more time with me. Providence just happened to be halfway between his house and my Mom’s.
Staring out the window I was doing my usual thing letting stories write themselves in my head. Cell phones started ringing but I didn’t really notice. At least not until some of the other passengers started asking the bus driver questions. Questions like, will the bus be continuing on to New York City? And how close to New York will we be able to get? There was a certain amount of disbelief about the events unfolding by us. Planes crashing into the World Trade Center seemed too farfetched to be real. But there it was staring at us from all the TVs in the bus station.
My Dad was already there waiting and I was thankful I hadn’t been planning on taking the bus any further. They had stopped all the buses that were headed towards New York, even the ones that made other stops along the way. As we drove the hour and a half to his house my Dad’s cell phone kept ringing. Every single friend of his and my step-mother’s was calling to find out he was okay.
Thankfully my Dad was, because I was in town and he’d taken the week off to visit with me. You see my father is a pilot for United Airlines. So you know Untied Airlines Flight 93? The one that flew out of Newark headed to San Francisco but was hijacked and aimed towards DC? The one where the people got it back and crashed it into Pennsylvania? Yeah that one. Well when I lived in California my Dad would often pilot United Airlines Flight 93 because it gave him a long enough layover to visit with me.
So if our friends hadn’t been getting married the next weekend, that could have been my father flying that plane. Knowing my Dad, he’d have given the terrorists one heck of a ride. After all he learned to fly in the United States Air Force.