On that morning, I was home, and I did not have the television on, as I do not care much for daytime television. Our younger daughter was at that time working for the Bank of America in Jacksonville; our older daughter was a student at the University of North Florida.
Our younger daughter called me and told me to turn on the television. I saw the information about the first plane having hit the tower, and I thought they were discussing some horrible accident. But then the camera picked up the second plane heading for and then hitting the second tower, and I said to my daughter, "This is an act of war."
I tried to call my husband, who was in federal civil service working as a computer programmer for the U.S. Navy at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. I could not get through. That did not actually surprise me. I was fairly certain the base had been locked down and that we were at DefCon 3 if not DefCon 4.
I watched the rest of the day, wondering if my husband and I, both having served in the U.S. Coast Guard, were going to be called to active duty. I wondered also who had done this terrible thing. Then the towers collapsed in spectacular live coverage, and I saw people running from the advancing cloud of dust and debris. It was the most incredible thing I'd seen, and I was one of the television audience who on November 24, 1963, watched as Jack Ruby murdered Lee Harvey Oswald on national television.
I felt myself morbidly glued to the tube, trying to determine what was going to happen. As other news came in -- the third plane hitting the Pentagon and the fourth crashing in a field in Pennsylvania as the heroic cadre of passengers decided that their bunch of terrorists were not going to succeed -- it seemed as if I were participating in some weird technothriller movie. No. This was real, the sort of real where, after that day, nothing is the same as it was.
Prompted by Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers.