By 2001, I had worked two years for a reputable high-end carpet cleaning company. I started out as a receptionist, and then promoted to inside sales. I sported around in a Jeep Grand Cherokee and I’d been married for seven wonderful years. Mark had become a devoted Christian, and we attended church as a close-knit family. In April, we purchased our home southwest of Houston in Fort Bend County. Five months later, while driving to work, my tranquil life was interrupted by distress and unexpected terror.
On September 11th, around 7:50 in the morning, I heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. As soon as I arrived at the office, I flicked on the TV to see the live broadcast of a massive hole in one tower caused by the plane’s impact. Co-workers gathered around and we couldn’t peel our eyes away from the screen. Black smoke billowed out the building, soon engulfed by flames.
We heard what we didn’t want to hear and continued to see unbelievable images that will forever be etched in our minds. My heart plummeted as I saw a second plane hit the other tower. Buildings collapsed minutes later and we all gasped in horror knowing that hundreds—thousands—lost their lives.
That night, President Bush spoke powerful words: “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”
Freedom isn’t free, I thought, and freedom is worth any cost.
For the first time, within my own life I truly felt free. Free from the clutches of loneliness. Free from wondering where the next meal was coming from. Free from being a prisoner in my own mind, my marriage, my home. I also knew that in a split second, a life could be gone. I experienced that harsh truth the day I lost my baby sister by a hit-and-run driver. I lived through that stark reality from nearly drowning twice as a youngster. I re-lived that nightmare every time my former husband abused me, and again, on the day he shot at me.
(An excerpt of “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” – Chapter 43)
What is your memory on that fateful day?
© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved