Week Eleven: Kathy Benson

Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?

It’s hard to believe that eleven years have come and gone since 9/11/01.

In addition to being the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, ironically it is also the eleventh week since we began The Today Voice in July.

On 9-11-2002, one year later, I wrote what I could remember about my experience that day while it was still somewhat fresh in my mind. On that first anniversary I shared my recollection with some friends and family members.

On 9-11-2009, the eighth anniversary, I posted what I wrote seven years earlier on my blog.

Today I share that recollection of my day on September 11, 2001 here with you:

Bob and I had a routine for getting ready in the morning at the time that year. He would wake up and shower, then wake me up and we would eat breakfast and watch the morning news together. Then he would leave for work and I would shower and get ready and go in. At the time I was managing the Teen Center at the park district where I worked and typically worked later and therefore would go in later. I had a meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. that day at a local school and another at 10 a.m. (an all park district staff meeting).

While Bob and I ate breakfast in the living room we watched the big news of the day at that time that Michael Jordan had announced that he was coming out of retirement. We discussed his announcement over breakfast and then we said our goodbyes and Bob left for work. Bob was (and still is) an accountant for a law firm in the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in downtown Chicago.

After Bob left I turned the TV on in our bedroom on NBC. In those days I usually defaulted to the TODAY show. As I got out of the shower I could hear news anchors Katie Couric & Matt Lauer in the bedroom talking about breaking news. I was surprised to walk in and see that the first tower to be hit was on fire and smoking. At that time they knew a plane had hit, but they thought it was an accident. I called Bob and left a voicemail knowing he’d still be on the train. I wanted to talk to someone, so I called my dad who worked from home at the time (he is now retired). I told him to turn on the TV, as he had not heard about the crash yet.

Dad and I watched the coverage of the first plane hitting while we talked over the phone. While we watched and talked we literally saw the other plane hit! Then we were shocked and scared! I told dad I wanted to call Bob and leave another voicemail so he would know what was happening. By then they were starting to talk about what other tall buildings could be targets and I started to worry about Bob being on the 77th floor of the Sears Tower. After leaving Bob another voicemail, I called dad back and we watched and talked as a reporter on NBC said he heard a big noise at the pentagon (turned out to be the 3rd plane). While talking to dad, Bob called on the other line and said they were evacuating the Sears Tower and that he would be on his way home within 10 minutes. I felt better knowing that.

I just wanted to stay home and curl up and watch TV, but at that point I felt I needed to go to work. I wrapped up with dad and finished getting ready. As I drove to my first meeting I heard on the radio that the first tower had fallen. I met up with the teacher I was supposed to meet with and we quickly agreed to postpone our meeting. At that time I was paged by a co-worker who told me that our staff meeting location had been moved to the Administration building. So I went there.

When I arrived most of my co-workers were in the boardroom watching the news on a big screen TV. People were sad and scared; making cell phone calls to be sure their family was okay. At that time my sister still lived in New Jersey and worked near NYC, so I was worried about her. I had co-workers with family members they knew were flying that day. This was all very scary.

I got permission to send my two employees that worked for me at the Teen Center that day home to be with family. I also was allowed to close the Teen Center so I could go home and be with my husband.

When I got home Bob and I watched TV pretty much the whole day and soaked it all in. We soon found out that my sister was fine and we were able to touch base with other family and friends to confirm they too were okay. Many of our family and friends were worried about Bob working in the Sears Tower and called to be sure he was home and safe.

Ironically, the Sunday before 9/11/01 Bob and I watched the first episode of Band of Brothers, which premiered on HBO. That was just two nights before 9/11. When it was over we talked about how horrible it must have been to be alive during WWII. We talked about how blessed and lucky we were to not have been alive during a major war like that. Little did we know only days later what would happen….

On this eleventh anniversary of 9/11, I call to mind those who lost their lives that day and hold their loved ones who are carrying on close in my thoughts and prayers.


What was your experience on and what memories do you have related to 9/11?


Kathy Benson is a bereaved and blessed mom, writer and group fitness instructor trying to live mindfully and find joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and loss for five years. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two living children.

Kathy blogs at Bereaved and Blessed. You can also follow Kathy on Twitter @BereavedBlessed and her Facebook page.



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