Susan Spencer’s 9/11 Memory

The news of attack by terrorists on 11 September 2001 came and startled me awake. I had worked nights in a labor and delivery unit in Cartersville, Georgia. My husband, a newly retired Air Force executive drove the 8th grader and 10th grader to school. My bedtime habit was to go to bed with the Today Show on and “sleep-time” the remote. Typically I fell asleep somewhere in the first thirty minutes or so, the TV went off at some point and I slept until about 2:30 in the afternoon – to make the pick-up at school. On September 11, 2001 I had that I had drifted into a sound sleep when an urgency in the voices of the news team at NBC studios in New York woke me. The experience was truly terrifying. I left the bedroom to find my husband in the kitchen making himself breakfast and oblivious to the events. I told him briefly what I knew and turned on the television so he could make some sense of it.

He knew nothing, of course. We could make no sense of it. I knew I wanted my children home – right then. I dressed and went directly to the school to find traffic all around the school and other parents with the same idea. Parents were hugging kids, kids hugging kids, parents hugging parents. We had a common enemy, but we could not positively identify them.

The patriotism and consuming nature of the tragedy gave me something on which to focus my attention. I was glad to put some of those feelings of fear to rest. I hope to never forget the circumstances and to be involved in change that focuses attention on patriotism.

Susan Spencer, MSN, RNC, IBCLC