A flight to remember

It has been almost a year since the Sept. 11 tragedy, but I remember it like it was yesterday. On Sept. 9, 2001, I boarded a plane to Arkansas to facilitate a workshop for the Sigma Gamma Rho chapter at the University of Arkansas at Conway. I have never liked to fly, so I normally stay up all night before the flight so I can sleep through it. I was supposed to leave at 9 a.m., but because of rain and other circumstances my flight did not leave until after 3 p.m.I arrived in Arkansas on Sunday afternoon. On Monday, I hung out on the yard and at 6 p.m. that night, I presented my workshop. My flight left at 6 a.m. the next morning, so I stayed up all night as usual. I boarded the plane leaving Arkansas to Houston at 5:55 a.m. As the plane took off, I felt really strange, as if something was wrong. I couldn’t sleep, so I just looked out the window until the plane landed around 8:45 a.m.When the plane landed at Intercontinental Airport, the airport was empty. I have lived in Houston all my life very near the airport and had never known it to be empty, but I had never flown that early, so I really didn’t think anything of it.As I picked up my luggage and headed toward the exit, I heard a lady say that all the flights had been canceled because the World Trade Center had been bombed. I remembered the World Trade Center had been bombed in 1993, so I still didn’t think much of it.I rode the shuttle to my car and drove out of the parking lot. I know this may sound strange, but the whole world looked different. There was just a cast of gloom over the city. I turned on my radio and nobody was playing any music. All anyone kept talking about was the bombing of the World Trade Center. I decided that I needed to go home and see what everyone was talking about. Nothing could have prepared me for the horrifying pictures I saw on my television. I immediately began crying uncontrollably because that could have been me. I was on a plane at the time of the attacks. That could have been me. I dropped to my knees and began to praise God for blessing me with the ability to see another day because so many people had lost their lives senselessly to an act of blatant terrorism.I pulled myself together and drove down to SHSU for class. While I was driving, my husband called to inform me that he was leaving work because they were evacuating downtown Houston for fear of more attacks. The remainder of the day, I was just in a daze. I was extremely afraid to fly for a long time after that day. As a matter of fact, I got on my first plane this summer. The additional security at the airport made me feel more nervous than secure and I looked around the entire time and was suspicious of everyone, but I made it to Miami and back in July.Sept. 11 showed many that life is precious and you never know when your time will come. One thing it taught me is to live life to the fullest.

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