Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A changing point in America and my life

September 10th 2001
Tomorrow I start my first day at Harborview Medical Center. The day will start across the street in an auditorium. All of the newly graduated nurses will be in a large group for orientation. We will then eventually move into the hospital for classroom time and then to the floors we were hired onto for patient care with another RN that will show us the ropes. Where the linens are, medications, IV kits needles, etc. After we have this we move onto providing all the patient care but having the RN (mentor) follows us and gives advice/ tips.

September 11th 2001
Today was just a normal day for me. I got up and showered and was excited and nervous at the same time for my first day of orientation. Jeff was out of town on a business trip so I did not have him to pat me on the back or kiss me good bye when I went out the door to start my first day in my new career. I got in the car and the sun had not risen yet. I pulled out of the apartment complex and was listening to the radio. I soon heard the dj talking about an airplane. I did not really understand what was going on. My first thought was that there was an airplane that had crashed somewhere in New York, but still was unaware at what had really occurred. They took a commercial break and when they came back on the air the woman dj was having difficulty keeping her emotions in check and she was crying. I still was not aware at what was occurring until they did a recap of the events that had transpired. Soon they were talking about the west coast and that the Space Needle may be a target. Here I am driving to downtown Seattle. I had not seen anything but only had the information given to me auditory. I just kept thinking “what am I doing?” Do I go to the first day of orientation? Do I just turn around and go home? Why am I in this new state alone not knowing anyone but my dogs? I made it to the hospital and was constantly looking over my shoulder and trying to be very aware of my surroundings. When I got into the auditorium I noticed some people huddled around a television. I joined and got my first glimpse as to what was happening. I went to the payphones and called Jeff on his cell phone. He answered and had no idea of anything happening. He was down in a bunker or something underground. I told him to go to a television. Just to hear his voice and know he was safe was calming. I then called my mom back in Ohio. I was worried about anyone from the company that may have been traveling. I found that my brother and dad were not on any airplanes.

Soon they started orientation. We were all sitting in our seats when the teachers came in. The woman started in a very shaky voice and recapped to us what was going on. She then said that we were in lock down. Lock Down. I just was so scared. Again I am here in a foreign state ALONE I knowing no one. I have no family, boyfriend, and friends. She explained what lockdown would mean for us. We were going on with Orientation. She asked if anyone had any questions and one brave man raised his hand and asked the question we were all thinking. “Why are you keeping us here in lockdown?” “Why don’t we just go home?” Her explanation was that everything thus far had happened on the east coast. And if something were to happen on the west coast mainly Seattle we would be the first to help out. I am all for helping out, but we also have no idea where anything is as far as IV’s, meds, gauze, linens, and other supplies. I guess these are the things that we would have learned really fast. Thankfully it never came to the point where we would be needed had an emergency occurred.

After orientation ended for the day I was completely drained emotionally. When I got home that night I was in front of the television just trying to process all of the events of the day. Seeing people walking around with photos of their loved ones was heart wrenching and something I will never forget.

It has almost been seven years now since this tragic day. September 11th 2001 was a turning point in my life. I will never understand how there are people who think that they have the right to take so many lives. I will never understand why people hate innocent Americans to the point of blowing up airplanes. I will never understand why seven years later we are still at war. I will never understand how it must have felt to feel that there was no other option than to jump out of a burning building or to be told to return to an office and you would be safe. My heart aches for the spouses, children, brothers, sisters, co-workers, and friends that were lost that day. At the same time my heart feels joy when I hear of the stories of everyday people being so brave. (Firefighters, police officers, EMT, and innocent airplane travelers)

There was an amazing sense of pride to be an American. It came through with seeing the American flag on every home you passed, on the highway when driving down the road, on magnetic ribbons displayed on cars. I wish that this sense of patriotism was still so deep-rooted today.

I want to thank ALL of the military men and women who have sacrificed their lives and families to defend our country. My brother-in-law just returned after fighting for our freedom. Thank You David! We are so glad that you are home safe and sound.

September 11th ended up changing me in many ways. In my next post I will talk about how I changed and why we moved back to Ohio.


Jocasta and Wayne said...

Laurie, this is such a moving post. It touched us here as well but obviously not the same way as being American. Here we feel disjointed and far away and therefore "safe" - I guess everyone feels safe until it happens to them. I still remember hearing and not understanding what was really happening and seeing the pictures on the television of the planes and the aftermath.

I can't understand what drives people to do such things.

Tracy said...

how weird to have been in a 'lockdown'. I was living outside of the country at the time - & though I wasn't planning on traveling - it was bizarre to hear that NO plane was allowed in the air. I just sat & cried that day - and the next day found out I was pregnant with my first - crazy stuff

Johanna said...

Your post brought me back to that day... I was in the Army, editor of a newspaper in Alabama and my husband was in flight school. We went to work that morning and life was never the same. Ever. Our jobs changed to 24 hour jobs (as if they weren't already, now they were filled with inspections and rifle ranges and on and on) ... I got pregnant and missed being deployed by that week I found out. My husband went... and has been to Iraq twice - there for the third time as I write this. But no longer my husband. This day changed so many things in so many ways... thank you for writing about it. My son will never know that day but his life has changed since that day...

Bless you as you continue to write!

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