I still lived in Maui, Hawaii and was not in the habit of watching t.v. or staying “plugged in” in any way. My life was about to completely change in that regard. I had just finished cleaning up the kitchen after my children’s breakfast on that beautifully sunny morning. My father phoned me from the mainland and asked me if I was watching the news. I simply answered, “No, why?” He proceeded to tell me that we were “under attack” and I remember thinking “Dad, you can be so dramatic at times…,” but while he was talking, I humored him by walking into the living room, opening the wood and bamboo cabinet my husband had made to house the old “boob-tube,” and there it was- in all it’s surreal, incomprehensible horrific-ness. Of course by then (Maui-time is 6 hours earlier than the East coast) most everything had already happened, and survivors and news anchors were just struggling to make sense of what seemed impossibly nonsensical. They were airing re-runs of the events earlier in the day- and I kept wanting to know where the President was. I remember just wanting to hear any encouraging words from him- just wanting to know that he, at least, was still alive. Much to my relief, we did, of course, eventually hear from him.
Then all the air traffic was halted for a few days. This was remarkably eerie from our perspective on a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. From our home, up on the slopes of Haleakala, we had an expansive view over the entire valley, and hence looked down on all the air traffic routinely flying in and out from our little island. It was just one of those little things you get used to, and when it stops the absence of it is glaringly obvious. Some of our friends moved to the mainland within that first year. We, too, eventually took the plunge and sold our business and home to move to the Continental U.S. It’s nice to know that we can just drive everywhere we will ever need to go; something we obviously never had the luxury of taking for granted in the islands.
I was so glad that we had moved to the mainland several years later when my mother was ill and preparing to breathe her last, that we could all simply pile into the van and go see her. I’ve learned so much more about our American heritage, world history and my own family’s history since then, and have taken much more of an interest in the events of the world. As a result, my home-schooled children have learned a whole lot more than I had by their ages about all of these topics. In that sense, and others to be sure, September 11th, 2001 changed my life forever, and the lives of my children as well. We will never see the world the same as we did before that day- and in a sense it is also true that the world will never BE the same as it was before that day.