Although most Americans wouldn't be able to tell you what they were doing on any given random day, the overwhelming majority would be able to tell you exactly what they were doing the morning of September 11, 2001.
I was in bed.
I'd just started my first year of law school, and was living in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. I was deep in slumber when my cell phone rang just after 6 am. I snuck a groggy peek at the Caller ID.
Immediately, I knew it couldn't be a good thing, because the only time I ever got calls waking me out of bed was when something horrible had happened.
I picked it up and said hello, and my mom said "Don't worry, your dad didn't go into work today."
No greeting. Just what would seem to be a cryptic statement. But somehow, I knew. Call it women's intuition, or maybe just latent scary reminders of the day my Dad was trapped on the 102nd foor of the World Trade Center during the 1993 bombing back when I was in high school, but I knew.
Something had happened at the WTC. I wasn't sure what exactly -- I assumed a bomb -- but it had to be the WTC.
I burst into tears even before she could get the horrible story out about the two planes that had crashed into the Twin Towers. I ran into the living room and turned on the TV. There was a correspondent at the Pentagon, talking about whether or not it was terrorism-related. All of a sudden, the correspondent got a look of terror on his face and said that there had been a loud explosion. A few seconds later it was confirmed that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon.
At that point, I started crying even harder. Before moving to AZ, I lived in DC, and I had friends whose apartments were not far at all from the Pentagon, and even some friends who worked there...and on the Hill...and in the White House...and other such places that could be potential targets.
I spent much of the day in a stunned daze, trying to get through to friends in DC and NYC, and failing miserably. Glued to the television, as I watched increasingly macabre images of the planes crashing into the Towers and the Towers falling...over...and over...
But eventually, out of the darkness came hope, and the stories of courage. We began to learn of the heroes, and as a nation, we came together.
The victims of that day may be forever lost, but they are forever remembered.