I was brought awake with a jolt when my clock radio went off. It as set to NPR and the words were "...ceived news that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center." I sat there, frozen, thinking that some commuter plane had gone off course, strayed from the Hudson flight path, maybe tried to go too close to get a view... Then came the next words, "A second plane has crashed into the towers!"
I bounded from bed, husband on my heels, and we quickly turned on all the computers (we don't have TV) as well as both radios. We knew. We were in New York the first time they tried to bring down the towers and we knew it was "them" again.
I spent the rest of the day flipping from one news feed to another, one radio channel to another, trying to somehow find the news story that would say it was all untrue, as though Orson Welles had returned for an encore of War of the Worlds. When the towers fell, I would not believe it. They were still there, maybe the tops fallen away, hidden by the smoke.
I saw one still photo of a man jumping. It was closely focused on him and he looked like he was floating, head down, in an endless sky. It still gives me nightmares.
What astounds and humbles me now is how, after five years and the feckless behavior of the Bush administration, how the world still mourns for our nation's loss.