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Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11 - 10 years ago

"Erin, Get up....you need to see this."
"Batya, it's 6:45 on my day off, come on, let me sleep."
"Erin, GET UP - Come Here NOW!!"

It was September 11, 2001 and I was supposed to celebrate my 1 year anniversary with Enterprise Rent-A-Car by sleeping in, going for lunch with Batya after school and just relaxing. But, at 6:46 am (Arizona Time - 8:46 EST), I was woken up by Batya and immediately glued to the television. When the second plane struck the second tower 17 minutes later, I was a ball of tears. So many thoughts were going through my mind.

"Oh my God, Jason is supposed to be in NYC for an interview. How close is he to the Twin Towers?"

"Bekki - where is she and why can't I get through to her on the phone?"

"I have to call Mom and see if she has heard anything..."

I remember my Dad telling me that he knew exactly where he was when JFK was shot. I remember exactly where I was when the Challenger blew up. But, this was different. There were terrorist attacks happening on our soil, in the United States - the place that was a safe haven on Earth for anyone who sought it. That day and the several days that followed - I can remember every detail, where I was, what I was doing.

Working for the airport location of Enterprise Rent-A-Car was very challenging. We were immediately instructed to rent vehicles one way (something that ERAC did NOT do at the time) for anyone who needed to get home. There was a sense of real family that week. We were all Americans...and we were all hurting. We still hurt today as we remember the men and women who lost their lives; and the children....the children.

"Where were you when the world stop turning on that September day..." Alan Jackson's words were so apropos and so, so heartfelt. Remember, remember, do NOT forget. That day - did anything else matter? Pictures of the towers falling to the ground, the video....seeing NY'ers running for their lives from the debris. The heroes - the firemen, policemen, etc. all of those that helped that joined in to rescue or find bodies.

"Where is my sister, where is my brother? Why can't I get through? My God, what if something has happened to them?" The thoughts stayed with me until I finally spoke to Mom around 10:30 am - almost 4 hours after I began to worry and wonder. I just could not take my eyes away from the images on the television. To this day, the sounds I heard haunt me...

It has been 10 years since that horrible day. The United States of America is still recovering, but we are STILL HERE. No matter if you are a Packer from Green Bay or a Peach from Georgia - we are still here. To quote one of my favorite bands:

"...And you never did think that
it ever would happen again
In America, did you?
You never did think that
we'd ever get together again
Well we damn sure fooled you

We're walking real proud and
we're talking real loud again in America
You never did think that
it ever would happen again

From the sound up in Long Island
out to San Francisco Bay
And every thing that's
in between them is our home
And we may have done a little
bit of fighting amongst ourselves
but you outside people best leave us alone

Cause we'll all stick together
and you can take that to the bank
That's the cowboys and the hippies
and the rebels and the yanks
You just go and lay your head
on a Pittsburgh Steeler fan
and I think you're gonna finally understand..."

When you wake up on September 11, 2011...take a few moments to think about the freedom we have. Appreciate what it means to be an American. Say hello to a stranger, tell someone you love them, and most importantly - Remember.

"Cause I'm proud to be an American...where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me..."

God Bless America!

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