“I hate math.” Ah, the typical Theresa phrase even in 2001. A sunny, cool morning in September, the Garcia house was relatively calm as school work was under way. Mom had gone to take a shower and I was laying on her bed bemoaning the fact that I had to do math again today. The phone rang and I jumped up to answer it. Anything to take me away from the task at hand was more than welcome. My grandmother was on the other end, frantically telling me to turn the television on. “A plane just flew into the World Trade Center! They think it is a terrorist attack!” she cried. I ran into the bathroom and my words were all jumbled as I tried to tell Mama the news. She told me to run and turn the T.V. on.
As we sat watching FOX News, the second plane hit the other tower. We all cried out in horror as it began to sink in the atrocities that were occurring before our very eyes. It was only a little while later that the pentagon was hit and it was then that Mom began getting us ready to go into town. My parents live one mile from the back entrance to Ft. Benning, the largest military training facility in the world. I understood my mother’s concern as we loaded up and headed to my grandparents house. It was on the way there that we heard on the radio the fate of Flight 93 in that Pennsylvania field. Tears streamed down my mothers face as the death toll rose that day.
We stopped at a gas station on our way to Grammy and Granddaddy’s house. The Ledger Enquirer, our local newspaper, had put out the first extra in years and Mom grabbed a few copies. We were dropped off at Grammy and Granddaddy’s and were none to happy about being left. Something about the intensity of the day, even as a thirteen year old, made me want to cling closely to my mother.
I don’t remember a lot of the afternoon details. The news was on all day. Grammy tried to get us to watch something else, but we were adamant, as was Granddaddy, that FOX stay on all day. After calling my mother, she came and got me and we spent the rest of the day together. Dinner was eaten as a family and we watched together as George W. Bush addressed our nation. I couldn’t watch the whole speech and went to my room, tears streaming down my face as I thought about all the people whose loved ones would not be coming home that night.
The next few weeks were spent volunteering for the Red Cross and other organizations. I wanted to do something more and when I heard about a need that the firefighters had, I knew what I wanted to do. Reports were coming in that firefighters were battling foot fungus and were having to change their socks every couple of hours. So, we started collecting socks. Hundreds of donations poured in from around the city. A truck driver from church was headed to New York in the next week or so and offered to put the box in the cab with him and hand deliver our gift. It was with much excitement and gratitude that we loaded the boxes onto the truck and sent Mr. Henson on his way. The next week at church, I received pictures and iron on patch from a NYC fire department. I was completely thrilled to see the firemen who benefited from Columbus’ gift.
September 11, 2001 is one of those days that you never forget. As a citizen of the United States of America, it affected each of us. My mom can tell you where she was when The Challenger blew up. My dad can tell you what he was doing when Kennedy was assassinated. My grandparents could tell you where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed, on V Day, and the day troops came home from Vietnam. I can tell you where I was on September 11th, 2001.
It was a normal, cool September morning…