Posted by: husbandandfatheroffour | September 11, 2012

The Scar I Gave My Wife and the Silence of the Planes

11 years ago I worked for a beer distributor near the Indianapolis airport.  On the morning of September 11, 2001 I went to work just like everyone else did, hoping that the end of the shift would come fast so we could get back home.  I drove forklift and my job at the time was to refill the pick lines with the correct product.  We had a radio on the line that we listened to.  I remember I was going by just about the time the DJ said they had some breaking news.  I do not remember what station we were listening to but the first story that broke was that the Sears tower in Chicago was on fire and that they would try and get more info and update us in a bit.  I thought what a tragedy, especially if there are people trapped inside.  I called my wife and asked her to watch the news and I would call her back so she could let me know what she found out.

Because of that call she was watching the news when the second plane hit the south tower live on TV.  I remembered after we heard on the radio that it was the World Trade Center and that now two planes had hit the two towers I called her back.  She was crying and she told me she saw the second plane hit the south tower live.  I knew right away she would be scarred forever because of seeing that.  It is always one thing to see something on video and very different to see that same thing in real life.  I have always felt bad that because of calling her and asking her to find out what was going on; she had to endure seeing that plane hit the second tower.  Knowing she had just witnessed a mass murder in real time.  That is the scar I gave my wife.

As I said, I worked next to Indy’s airport so it was always filled with the noise of planes taking off and landing.  I remember when we found out that they were ordering all planes to land we went over to the dock doors.  We watched what seemed to be an endless number of planes landing one right after the other.  I remember everyone feeling saddened and angry at the same time.  Hearing the emotions in people’s voices and what they hoped we would do as a country to respond.  But not long after those planes landed a third feeling crept in.  It was a feeling of eeriness.  We couldn’t get over how eerily silent it was.  There were no longer planes landing or taking off.  You could normally walk outside and see the planes in the sky but not now.  Every single civilian plane was forced to land.  The only thing you saw in the sky was occasionally some fighter jets.  That just made the eeriness worse.

It was almost like the world had shut down and the only things moving were the employees.  The roads seemed to have a lot less traffic on them.  The silence was overwhelming.  It wasn’t until it was time for us to clock out and go home that the silence ended.  I remember I had the windows down on purpose just to hear all the traffic going by as I headed home.  The other thing I noticed that day on the way home, was there weren’t the fast paced, erratic, get out of my way drivers that there usually is.  It was as if while everyone wanted to get home as soon as they could, they also wanted to get there safely.  We all just wanted to get home to put our arms around our loved ones and let them know that we loved them.  That eerie silence, at work, lasted for a couple of days until they finally started allowing flights back in the air.  So while 9/11 will always be known for the attacks, tragedy, and heroism, it will also, for me, be known as the day I scarred my wife and the eeriness of the planes being silenced.  

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