By Anne Robotti
What a terrible day that was. I could smell the Trade Center burning in my back yard, and the military helicopters were buzzing over our heads like angry bees on their way back and forth between Washington and New York.
I was in Macy’s with my mother, and a man ran through yelling that the first tower had just gone down. The salesgirl behind the makeup counter started crying, and I hugged her, and my mom hugged both of us. I said to my Mom, “I can’t do this anymore, let’s go get the kids.”
I felt like the world was going to change now, today, this minute. The fear and panic were almost overwhelming.
At Brooke’s preschool, another mom pulled into the parking lot at the same time I did. We got out of our cars, burst into tears, and hugged each other. I don’t think either of us could articulate this horrible feeling that no matter what we did today, it wouldn’t make any difference in the fact that the world wasn’t safe anymore. We couldn’t keep our kids safe, we could only bring them home. The woman who answered the door told us that they felt it was best that the children’s routine not be disrupted in spite of what was happening.
I told her to give me my child or I was coming in to get her, and the other mom said, “What she said.” Three or four other parents were with us by this point.
At my son’s preschool (his first day), one of the teachers hadn’t been able to get in touch with her husband, who worked on the 29th floor of the World Financial Building. We waited all day for word of him, until 9 p.m., when we learned he survived.
My friend Melissa lived and worked downtown; my friend Babette worked in the Treasury Department, and neither of them could let me know that they were okay for two days.
We were glued to the television for a week.
And now, it falls to 45 to do what presidents have been doing for the past 16 years—to encapsulate that horror and suffering and bring out a message of hope, and unity, and healing. And I say this in all sincerity, nothing would make me happier than to have him rise to the occasion today.
Anne Robotti is a late-to-the-party political activist, a technical writer and social media manager living in Morrisville, NC. She’s a curmudgeonly grammarian, the mother of five children, three abnormally fat dogs, and two disdainful cats. Her 25-year marriage survived her husband’s 2016 vote for Donald Trump.