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Monday, September 11, 2006


I got up and put on my headphones. I was listening to Mike & Mike in the morning on the Atlanta ESPN Radio affiliate and took the dog outside for his morning walk.

Suddenly, the local guys broke into the broadcast to say that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center. In my mind, I pictured a small prop plane that went off course or some similar naive delusion. Just then they announced that a second plane had hit the other tower. At that point both the Atlanta sports talk radio morning zoo crew and I knew that this had to be more than just an accident.

I ran back inside and turned on CNN to see the horrible images that we will forever have burned into our national consciousness.

After a little while, my sister-in-law called me from Pennsylvania to tell me that she had dropped my brother off at the airport a short while before and that he was in the air at that moment. Considering the fact that we had no idea what was going on, if more attacks were coming or not, we were both terrified. Compounding this fear was the fact that my sister-in-law was holding my soon-to-be four month old niece. We were both wondering if she (or the rest of us) would ever see her father again. Despite the fact that I have never been so afraid in my life, I did my best to remain calm to keep her calm. My brother is exceptionally lucky and I just kept telling her, "It's Kevin. Nothing bad ever happens to Kevin. You know that."

I got off the phone with my sister-in-law so she could try and call the airline and see about my brother's flight. I continued to watch CNN who at some point reported (incorrectly) that the plane that had struck the Pentagon had been hijacked out of Philadelphia. I didn't know if he had flown out of Philly that day or not but it was a distinct possibility. That led me to one of the most terrifying thoughts I have ever had: could I be watching my brother's death on CNN?

After a few more calls from my sister-in-law who had been unable to find anything out about my brother, one of the people he was traveling with contacted his wife and she told my sister-in-law that the plane had been grounded in Atlanta but that they were OK. I told her, "See, I told you he'd be OK." Then, when we got off the phone I finally broke down. I've never felt so relieved in my life.

Even though I was horrified by what was transpiring, I was so happy that my family was safe. I understood how the people felt who, just like me, had been watching TV not being able to find out if there friends and family were OK. I kept thinking about those people who's uncertainty continued on throughout that day and beyond. The people who never got the call that I did. The people who never felt the relief that I did.

I finally talked to my parents that night and they told me that the local gas stations had jacked up the price of gasoline and that people were lining up to get it. I was disgusted by this. This was in a small town in Nebraska. Terrorists were not and are not coming there, but everybody was afraid and some people tried to take advantage of that fear.

It was so quiet that night.

Pray for those who died. Pray for those who lost loved ones. Pray for the security of our Nation and our friends and families.

God bless the United States of America.

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