I absolutely remember where I was and what I was doing the day the World Trade Center was attacked and America fell. I was 9 months pregnant and less than an hour away from the madness that was unfolding.
I was sitting in my Nana & Papa's house watching Good Morning America when the Charlie Gibson changed the tone with breaking news of some kind of accident at the Twin Towers.
[I was with my GrandParents because I had taken a hiatus from my TV News career. I was pregnant with our second son and wanted to know what it was life was like without the prenatal rush of the newsroom. Equally as important was my desire to take care of the people who took care of me. Papa had Alzheimer's and Nana had her own issues that were clouding their last seasons on the planet. So my husband and toddler and I moved into their basement to try to ease the inevitable.]
As I watched with a detachment that can only come from years in the news business I thought, "OK this is awful, but ... " But what? I don't know really know. I think I was trying to rationalize with the limited perspective derived from the levels of destruction I'd seen with the Philadelphia MOVE bombing, the Branch Davidian siege, the OKC bombing, the Columbine massacre, the wars and bombings overseas... I was trying to fit this horror into that box because I had had a long career that was responsible for disseminating these unfathomable images to the masses; and after some years you learn you have to shut down - or you'll break down.
But when the second plane hit the North tower I felt like we were NOT going to be alright. We are under attack. I called my husband who was working at a school in Scarsdale. He was about 20 minutes closer to Manhattan and in the midst of a school trying to manage "what could be" for the students - many of who had parents who worked in or near the WTC.
Looking at the live shots and video of the rush of debris and panic on the faces of those running for their lives - it all became penetrating and surreal. And I cried. I tried not to cry but here I was 9 months pregnant watching thousands of futures change. And my protector wasn't here and I couldn't tell my GrandParents and... I looked at my 2 year old boy playing on the floor in front of the television. I wiped my eyes just in case he looked at me. Then I watched him stack his blocks, fly his toy airplane into them and knock them over. My God! I turned off the television and prayed that what he saw and imitated would not imprint on him forever. I quickly whispered another prayer to protect my unborn son from my sadness and any other destructive feelings that might be transferred to him in utero.
From that point on I went into self-preservation mode. I could only watch the coverage in doses. Honestly? I wanted to put it all behind me. And when I thought about the overwhelming sadness of the families directly affected by that tragic day - I sent prayers their way and turned my attention toward my children. That's all I could do. It was all I could do.
My child was born 11 days after the attack. He weighed 9lbs 11oz.