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Remember where you were?

September 7, 2016
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Can you believe it has been 15 years since 9/11??I?can't. My life was completely different then.?I was a young idealist about to turn 30. Now I'm middle aged, far less cute, and it seems like every single thing has to be harder.

I was happy, yet anxious because my aunts were coming to visit as my father had died in 2000. One of those aunts has since died, and the other, I understand has an aggressive form of Alzheimer's only in her early 70s.

The aunts were scheduled to drive/fly out Sept. 12, and I?hoped I'd have the house cleaned by then. My dad was 35 years and two days older than I was, so we were kind of celebrating what would have been his 65th birthday, too.

They ended up rescheduling their trip for the end of September.

The morning started like the other mornings of that school year. Caitlyn had started kindergarten, and I?dressed her in her silver-glitter sneakers with a white tee shirt and jeans. Dylan wore a white tee and jeans, too, and was in third grade. We were in our second year in a two-story, four-square house three blocks from their elementary school in Sioux City, the one I?had attended from K-6th grades. That felt really great. Really safe. I?had a bevy of happy memories of elementary school, along with some less great ones, but I really loved, almost worshipped, that school.

I watched them walk to the end of our short block and turn the corner.

I?rinsed the breakfast dishes, then went to the basement to watch the Today Show until I?started my day freelance writing.

I was working on a major grant for a Children's League chapter on the east coast, and on a series of articles about paying for college for a new web publication in Colorado. That Internet was opening so many new possibilities. It only took 3-5 minutes to open a jpg photograph file, and also a few minutes to send a document. I had a website with an autumn theme to match my September birthday, and people could email me right from a link on the site. Oh, technology.

I?thought about how happy we were, how cute the kids were, and really pretty good, except when they were rotten, when the Today Show footage showed the first plane hitting the World Trade Center.

I thought about whether I should run up to the school, or not. The local news came on to say our local schools were staying in session all day and while parents could come get their child, they saw no reason to do so.

I decided to hold the line unless there was some evidence the attack was moving west from?New York City.

I didn't have the faith I?have now.?I?didn't have the wisdom I have now (though I could always use more of both). I didn't know if everything was going to be okay. I?didn't know what to tell the children. I don't know much of what happened in the next 72 hours.

The children came home. I asked them what they knew. The kindergartener said her teacher told them planes crashed into buildings in New York, and showed them on the map of the U.S. where that was. Third grader said his young teacher told them something had happened, but she wouldn't say what because it was too sad.

What I knew was, we had to keep living our lives, loving each other, and having hope. So we did.



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