I Remember


By 2001, I had worked for two years for a reputable high-end carpet cleaning company. I started out as a receptionist, and was 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 of 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, in 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, and 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 to a hit-and-run driver. I lived through the stark reality of nearly drowning twice as a youngster. I relived 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)

Your turn:

What is your memory of that fateful day?

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"


Filed under 911, Memorial

8 responses to “I Remember

  1. Sue J

    I have too many memories to number, because I lived in New York at the time and my husband was a federal first responder who reported in there the morning of the 12th and stayed there for 4 months straight. I worked in cybersecurity at the time, so had my hands full on my job as well. My husband became quite ill in the years following, both mentally and physically. I’m working on a memoir about it all, but in the meantime, if you want to catch a hint of my thoughts on 9/11, check out my blog Swimming in the Mud (www.swimminginthemud.com) and look for the related topics in the tag groupings. Needless to say, 9/11 dramatically changed my life and absolutely my marriage.

  2. I’m in Australia and 9/11 happened while we were sleeping. I woke to feed my little ones their breakfast and get them off to school. The TV was on and my husband and I sat staring at the screen in horror. We awoke in time to see live footage of the buildings collapsing with people running ahead of a cloud of dust, which quickly enveloped them. I felt scared and sick. We heard the thuds on the awning as people were being interviewed. It was hell. We didn’t take out children to school, instead we went to church. It was a surreal day.

  3. I was on my way out the door when I heard about the 1st plane hitting the tower and I thought it was a terrible mistake, but after getting to work, I learned of the 2nd plane hitting the other tower and I felt we were just getting into war. All kinds of thoughts went through my head. I thought of my girlfriend’s brother that lived right in New York City and wondered where he was at that time. (He woke up late that morning and when he looked out the window he could see all the smoke.) My husband, sister and brother-in-law had gone sightseeing in New York City the previous month and I had taken a picture of the towers. I wondered what we would have done if we had been there on 9/11. Seeing all the smoke and people running in panic will always be imprinted on my mind and all the news following that unbeliveable morning!

  4. Kenny Pelletier

    I too was in the office with Mary Ann that day, and I remember saying as these horrific events were unfolding “our lives will never be the same after today”. Think of how our lives have changed, from all the additional security checks we now have to go through to board an airplane, to constant talk of terrorist threats that are now part of our daily lives. Oh for a return to the innocence of days of old! God help us through these difficult times in this fallen world!

  5. I was sitting in the living room of my ministry partner and another friend of ours (and her young son) when the phone rang and the voice on the other end said “TURN ON THE TV NOW!”

    • When we asked what channel they said it didn’t matter but do it now. We did, in shock, disbelief, tears we sat glued to our TV for days . . . praying for people, for families, for firemen/women & police, for our nation, for peace and for revival.

  6. Mary Jacobson

    Same here. Went to work in Galveston at UTMB like any other day. Once we heard the news we turned on the tv and watched the unbelievable scene at the Twin Towers in horror. I will never forget the singing of The Battle Hymn of the Republic in the church before we embarked on Desert Storm. My neighbor’s son was offered a beautiful office in one of the Towers. He decided to keep his old office which was in a building not far from the Towers. His decision saved his life. They were told to run from their building after the Towers were hit. Luckily he is a runner so he ran away from the devastation. He also finished the Boston Marathon 30 minutes before the bombs went off. Again he was not injured. I am still amazed by his good luck and always like to tell his story. I still cannot believe what happened at the Twin Towers could happen in our great country. All of our lives were changed forever.

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