I was working as a medical receptionist in a busy dermatology practice.
One of our patients came in and said "a plane just crashed into the twin towers".
We just stared at him. What an odd thing to say. It seemed nonsensical.
He stared at us blankly as we began to process his intake. Looking back he was probably wondering why we weren't more interested in his announcement.
One of the medical assistants headed to the basement to turn on the one television in the building.
The lead doctor came out and informed us that his wife, a State Representative, had been told to leave the city.
He made it very clear. They weren't told to evacuate the building (being a government building), but to leave the city, to be out of the metropolitan area.
The President was in the air. The Vice President was in a bunker. Fighter jets were scrambled over the Capitol. We had been attacked. We were being attacked.
The next morning I remember watching the news as I was getting ready for work. Instead of showing the latest from the New York Stock Exchange, they were reporting on the Nikkei. A sign of what had happened, of how it affected our world.
I lived near a major international airport at the time. The "no fly" rule put in place from border-to-border immediately changed our skies. You don't realize how much planes are a part of the background of your daily life until you don't see them.
And I distinctly remember days later, the first time I saw a plane back up in the sky, and how eerie it felt.
The weeks and months that followed sealed the fact that our lives were changed forever. My generation had never been thru anything even remotely close to this.
We would receive faxes from the CDC and other government agencies regarding the latest bio-hazard threats. We were trained on how to triage patients who suspected they may have cutaneous anthrax.
Friends went to war. Came home. Went back. Rinse. Repeat. Care packages got sent.
One is there. Again. Fourth tour.
There's no doubt about it, our lives changed forever in the blink of an eye. As much as we have, 12 years later, settled into "normal", you cannot dispute that the normal of today is much different than the normal prior to 9/11. In addition, the acts of that day have, and will continue to change the way our country approaches a multitude of subjects.
So, dear readers.... where were you when our country changed?
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