Lemonade Day remembers …

September 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday a coworker turned and asked me, “Where were you on 9/11?”  While every year I take time to reflect on that day, with the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, it is even more on my mind.  There is so much chaos today – wild fires ravaging my state of Texas, devastating floods effecting so many of our Lemonade Day family, wars being fought around the world … but 10 years ago, there was a moment where it seemed the entire Earth stopped turning. As I went back to that day in my head – I was in college, living with 2 other girls in a house in Norman, OK. I turned on the TV as per my normal morning routine -and the 2nd plane flew into the tower. I just stared in disbelief at the TV very confused. I spent the remainder of the day in the School of Theater conference room preparing a mailing glued to the TV with fellow classmates and professors. – and I started to cry as I relayed that memory to my coworker.

So I began to ask, “Where were you on 9/11?”

Julie Eberly, Chief Expansion Officer
“On my way to work when the news story first hit , then at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston where I gathered with our Refugee Services staff, most of whom had actually come to the US as refugees. One dear friend, who was from Bosnia, had expressed through sobs that she was supposed to be safe here! It was sobering. That evening I went for a long and solemn run, and then we gathered at our church to pray.”

Esther Lee, National Project Coordinator
“I was in my 9th grade biology class, my teacher had the TV turned on (no sound) when my friends and I walked into class and we didn’t know what was going on. We saw the buildings and smoke coming out but didn’t understand. Some kids were pulled out of class and taken home and my best guy friend was worried because his parents were on a flight but he didn’t know any details so I worried for his family all day. Also remember going home and watching the news all night with my parents ”

Shannon Bishop, Vice President of Education
I was running late for work and getting ready. The Today Show was on and when the second plane hit the tower, I called the office and told them I wasn’t going in. I got back in bed and stayed there, transfixed by images beyond my comprehension, chanting the mantra, “May the world be full of loving kindness. May all beings be peaceful and at ease.” I was alone and wanted to have everyone I loved in the world around me. I had to call my friends and family and make sure they were okay, and of course they were (none in NYC, or at the Pentagon or on a plane over PA). My heart broke, and broke open with sorrow for those whose loved ones died. And my heart broke for all of us –  our country and the world. I knew it was a big moment … huge. Bigger than Columbine. Bigger than the Murrow building. Bigger than the Challenger. Even bigger than the JFK assassination. I knew that the death and destruction would not stop once the dust settled on the towers and the Pentagon. I couldn’t get T.S. Eliot out of my head-

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends

But it was ending with a bang, not a whimper. And we were the “hollow men, the stuffed men, forming prayers to broken stone.”

Kasey Hess, National Project Coordinator
“I was in math class and our teacher turned on the tv just in time to see the 2nd plane hit.  We were only in 7th grade and I remember we didn’t quite understand what was going on, we just knew it was bad.”

JC Perez, Houston Executive Director
“I remember this day as if it was yesterday!  At the time I was the  Texas Regional General Manager for Radio Unica Radio Inc and I was driving into the my office at the Arena Towers.  I was listening to my morning news team do their normal morning newscast and they interrupted regular programming with a special report about the first plane hitting the North tower.  About 10 minutes later my cell phone rang and it was my boss whose office was in midtown Manhattan and he told me what was going on and that I had to gather all of my staff in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and the Valley on a national conference call as soon as possible so that we could discuss our plan as a media company and how we were going to inform our public without causing more alarm.  When I got to my office I walked into the control room of the radio station and all of my staff was  there and in tears. We were just informed of the second tower being hit and of the other two planes that had gone down.

It felt as if we were in a movie and everything was happening in slow motion.  There was not a dry eye in the house and then I got a call from the building management telling me that we had to evacuate the building ASAP because there was a government office in our building and nobody knew if government buildings were targets across the country.

I gathered my staff in the conference room and told them they had to leave until further notice and that we would automate our station programming to run our news feed from Miami.

The eeriest part of this whole situation is that I was scheduled to be in New York that week in meetings with the top Hispanic advertising agencies and of course my business trip was cancelled.  I went to New York in late October and when I arrived I felt like I was in a foreign country.  My hotel was at 26th and Park Ave and was blocked off by army trucks checking each vehicle with mirrors underneath and checking for explosives.  On the wall across the street from my hotel there were pictures of thousands of missing persons-this was too much for me and I remember streams of tears coming down my face.  How can something like this happen in my hometown that I grew up in?

I still get shivers down my spine and teary eyed to this day talking about it.  That fateful day in September changed my world and the world of my friends, family and colleagues forever.”

Debbie Nazarian, City Director
“I was driving to work that morning and heard the news on the radio. I rushed to a tv when I got there and watched with my co-workers the horrible footage of the plane flying into the tower and the towers coming down. We all watched in complete silence.”

Aimee Friend, Houston Development Associate
“I was driving to work and heard it on news radio.  What I remember most about learning that the second tower had been hit is that Peter Jennings’ voice cracked and he had to pause for several moments as he was describing what he was seeing live.”


Where were you?

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Entry filed under: Getting To Know You. Tags: , .

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