Blogathon for Pearlington

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Some Thoughts About the Aftermath

I was very moved when I read Sharon's recounting of her family's experience during the days of the hurricane. I can well relate to that feeling of disbelief in the face of tragedy. Although I've been fortunate never to have experienced a natural disaster, I did, like the rest of the country, live through the 9/11 attack, and spent my own day of thawing belief while I watched the Pentagon burn, not knowing if my husband was in or out of the building.

Like Sharon, I just didn't think it was happening, even when it was. I was waking up to the radio news, hearing talk about the WTC and a bomb. Assuming that it was a retrospective about the failed attempt of a few years ago, I drowsed until the voice announced that the Pentagon had just been hit. "Oh, he's okay," was my first thought, followed by "I'd better turn on the t.v," and then, while I stood in the living room watching the WTC hit again, "why am I not feeling anything?"

Thankfully, Paul made it out safely, and by four in the afternoon had returned home, safe and sound. But he had a home, nice and safe, to make it to, and he had a roof over his head in the weeks while the Pentagon began to clean up the debris. If he needed to chat with friends, he'd jump in his car and go to the pub or pick up his cell and call someone.

In the months to come, as the full measure of the damage sank in, we went through the mourning and grief along with the rest of the area and country, but we weren't also wondering where family members were, or trying to piece a life together by sleeping in a tent, like so many people in LA and MS were.

And so I look with awe at people living and volunteering in towns like Pearlington. y'all are amazing. Do you know that?


  • On September 11, it was my brother I was worried about. He has a technology development company that does military contract work. In those days, he was a frequent visitor to the Pentagon. As you know only too well, so many people were checking on family that it was almost impossible to get a phone call in or out of that area. It took hours to hear that my brothe was safe in Virginia during which time I was in the classroom sharing my shock and stupor with a bunch of college freshmen.

    The following year, I happened to turn on a radio station that was running and all day replay of their 9-11 coverage. I went into full-scale panic. I didn't know I was listening to a replay, but I did know exactly where my brother was that time. I had talked to him only the night before. He was in a meeting at the Pentagon.

    By Blogger Sharon Gerald, at 7:11 AM  

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