I Remember…

Turning the radio up

As I sat in my office with a patient

Thinking it was an awful accident

Getting the phone call

From the Airman at the front desk

“The Pentagon has been hit.”

Advising my patient to go, now.

Telling him to try to make it home

The base would be on lock-down

Calling my husband without hesitation

Knowing the lines would soon be too busy

Being grateful to hear his sleepy voice

Assembling in our disaster teams

In the basement cafeteria

Sitting at tables waiting and wondering

Getting the news privately from a fellow officer

That our fighters were scrambled

Another plane was headed in our direction

Praying each time I went to the restroom

“Don’t let me be in here when it happens,

Don’t let them find me in here.”

Feeling compelled to volunteer

Wanting to triage at the Pentagon

Being equally frightened that they may choose me to go

Calling my family

In the afternoon when things got quiet

Saying, “I am safe. I love you. Happy Birthday.”

Waiting in the hospital

Waiting for orders

Waiting for patients that never came

Finally driving home after midnight

Nearly running over an Airman, in his reflective orange vest

Traffic patterns on the base changed that day, and for years

Thoughts foggy and hands numb on the wheel

Wanting to cry with my husband

Not being able to

Watching television coverage

The following night

Finally sobbing uncontrollably

Escorting loved ones to the Pentagon

The silent somber bus ride

The police escorts, the salutes as we entered

Viewing the scorched building, earth, tree

The tree that still stood, half green, half blackened

The General who towered and comforted

Stricken faces with nothing left

Mementos left behind in remembrance

Leaving the only thing in my pocket, a military coin

The banquet hall full of pictures

Cards, letters, stories, grief

Doing what I could by being there

Feeling in some small way useful

Nothing else that week or month

To think of them

To be present in my life


~ by April on September 11, 2012.

3 Responses to “I Remember…”

  1. Wow…..so moving. Took me back to that day. Well done.

  2. Nice. I love the imagery of the tree left standing and how it acts symbolically in the piece as a General. Also the fear we all have of tragedy striking and being found unaware as we all were that day.

    • Thank you. I am happy that you liked it. There also was a real General that day wandering around and comforting us, I was so emotional I forgot to salute him. I am mortified to this day…but I imagine he let it go and gave me some leeway. Thanks for reading.

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