By Terry Maher
Member of CU Indivisible and Managing Editor of Voting Rights Gazette, reprinted from the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette
I had just dropped off my younger daughter at school and had turned on the car radio for the latest news when I heard the newscaster say the most unbelievable thing — that a plane had just crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.
For what seemed like forever, but was really minutes, there was all sorts of speculation — that the plane’s guidance system had failed, that the pilot had had a heart attack, anything that could explain this.
But then, even before I got home, there was the announcement that a second plane had hit the towers. Now it was clear this was no freak accident.
I ran inside the house, turned on the TV and called my husband, who had just heard the news himself. Then a third plane hit the Pentagon — this was clearly a planned attack.
Outside, a road crew was repairing our street. I knew one of the men. I thought, should I tell them what’s going on? I decided not to because who would believe me? That piece of pavement still bears the mark ‘9/11/01,’ our neighborhood’s own little memorial of that day, though I’m sure no one else is aware of it.
I desperately wanted my family at home with me, but my older daughter was away at college, so a phone call had to suffice. My younger daughter, however, was sent home early from school, and now I begged my husband to come home early, too. He had just returned two days earlier from a trip to London.
As reports came in that all flights worldwide that were bound for the U.S. had been diverted to any available airport for who knew how long, I realized how lucky we were that he didn’t stay extra days for sightseeing.
There is a Jewish custom that when a person dies, and on the anniversary of their death, we light a memorial candle. It seemed like the most appropriate thing to do, with so many dead.
We happened to have three memorial candles on hand, so we lit them all and said the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead.