I have been watching all the documentaries and it seems like a dream I wasn’t even a part of and yet I remember the strangest smallest details of that day as I am sure you do too.
My wedding was in 4 days and I had a final fitting for my dress that night. My mom and sisters were going to arrive on Thursday. I was scheduled that day to work the break shift 12-8 at Treasure Island where I was a cocktail waitress.
I was tying my shoes for an early morning walk when the phone rang about 6:30am that Tuesday. It was my friend Jodi and she asked if I was watching the news.
‘No’ I said, ‘I am getting ready for a walk’. I remember I had on an old gray Nike shirt and was tying my shoe while perching the phone between my ear and shoulder. Why I rememer that so vivdly, I don’t know.
‘Something really bad is happening in New York’, she said, ‘Like a bomb or something’.
I told her I would check it out and then we hung up and I turned on the television.
It was 9:30am in New York and both towers had already been hit and I just remember thinking ‘What the hell?’.
I went upstairs and woke up Mr. Right who had come home early from working graveyards at about 4am that morning. I said ‘You need to get up and see this’. We just sat on the floor and stared at the tv. The news just got worse and worse. I was sick to my stomach. The pentagon update came on and news of a 4th flight on it’s way to Washington. So surreal, the newscasters didn’t know what was going on, so much panic and this heavy heavy feeling of despair.
Then the towers fell.
And I thought ‘There are people in there’.
I called in to work to see if they still wanted me there. To be honest I was a little scared that Vegas might get attacked. They said to come anyway because several people had already called out.
I remember listening to the radio reports and DJ’s saying all the blood donation centers in Vegas had lines of people waiting to donate. I guess everyone felt they had to do something. What could we do from here for our American brothers and sisters in New York?
There was this indescribable eerieness. The skies were quiet. So weird not to see planes coming in and out of Vegas. When I got to the casino it was even stranger. There weren’t many people on the floor, but the sports book was an entirely different story as all the screens were tuned to CNN.
Some of the casino guests were stranded because they were unable to fly out and there were other people there who had been flying to other destinations when the planes were abruptly landed in Vegas. I remember an older gentleman saying ‘I knew something was bad when the pilot came on and said to prepare for landing. I honestly thought we were crashing because of the demeanor of the flight crew’.
We all just stood in the sports book watching the news. People crying, cursing, catatonic as they just stared at the screens.People were hugging each other and had their arms on others shoulders. There was a large group of guys from New York and they were sobbing.
We just stood there and watched the devastation. People streaming across the bridge from Manhattan, police officers helping people. Bloody, dusty survivors looking stunned. Newscasters speechless, for what was there to say?
I left around 2pm because the floor was so slow and no one was ordering drinks.
I went to my dress fitting, stopped at the grocery store for a bottle of wine and stayed up into the wee hours watching the tragedy unfold and crying for America.
The next days were even worse. The family members on tv looking for their loved ones was heartbreaking.
Although it became apparent pretty quickly that my family would not make it out for the wedding, we decided not to postpone it. My sister from Kingman did manage to get here after a long trip and crossing the Hoover Dam (heavily guarded by the military by then).
We were married with about half of the wedding party missing, but I am glad that we did for almost everyone said it was just what they needed. When I watch the wedding video there are so many people saying ‘God Bless America’.
It’s hard to put into words. It was like we were all united for that time. You would look at the person next to you in line at the store and know that they were suffering this national attack too. On the drive to Northern California (where we honeymooned) I would say 1 in 4 cars had those flag window things going on. At overpasses in California there were flags draped up and candles and people hanging over and waving flags. We bought American flag decals at a farmers market in Carmel and had to stand in line to do it.
America the Beautiful.
United We Stand.
Where were you that day?