Thoughts on September 11 with Kathy Osborne: "Punch in the stomach"

On September 11, 2001, I was sitting on the couch breastfeeding my 6 week old son, while my 1.5 year old son played with his toys nea...

On September 11, 2001, I was sitting on the couch breastfeeding my 6 week old son, while my 1.5 year old son played with his toys nearby.

NBC’s “Today” show was on, and they cut to a report of a plane hitting the World Trade Center. At first they assumed it was a small plane that had lost control, but when I looked at the hole in the side of the tower, I knew it was wrong.

My father was a pilot and I had flown with him several times. If you tried to avoid a building you would tack and the wing would cut off. A giant hole in the middle of the tower made no sense. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I pulled the television away from my young son so that he couldn’t see the pictures and turned down the volume, but I couldn’t look away. I watched the second plane hit, I watched those on the roof begging the new helicopters to save them, I watched the towers fall.

My husband had studied medicine on an Air Force scholarship and we were on active duty, living in Texas, away from all of our family and friends. He had been sent to Turkey for a routine deployment two weeks after the birth of my son; he was still there when it happened. I received a rushed email from him – “the base is being locked down, no communication will be allowed, I’ll be in touch when I can. Love you.”

As a parent, the conflict was excruciating. I was desperately looking for information, trying to figure out what was going on, but I also didn’t want my son to hear the news or see the scenes. I stole moments with NPR whenever I could and watched the news whenever the kids were napping or in bed. We went to church, which was full, and prayed for our loved ones, for strangers, for the world. All around me so much sorrow, so much confusion, so much uncertainty.

I watched our friends in the military being sent to faraway lands, or just sent – the classified location, their spouses having no idea where they would be. We leaned on each other and continued as best we could, knowing that no news is better than bad news when your spouse is posted overseas.

I remember so many strange things from the period that followed. The shock of the first plane flying over once air traffic resumed months later (for those who weren’t there, all flights were grounded for several weeks).

When my husband returned to the United States, I remember everyone’s kindness thanking him for his service. I remember my first business flight, flying over New York on my way to Vermont and seeing the crater, with copious amounts of smoke rising, months after the tower collapsed.

I was shocked. I had assumed that such a horror had long passed, but that day will be with us forever.

Kathy Osborne lives in Northampton.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Thoughts on September 11 with Kathy Osborne: "Punch in the stomach"
Thoughts on September 11 with Kathy Osborne: "Punch in the stomach"
Newsrust - US Top News
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