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Lee Rasch: Left grounded and speechless

Lee Rasch: Left grounded and speechless

From the COLLECTION: 20 years later, our readers share 9/11 memories series
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Susan and I had a very early morning flight to Colorado on September 11, 2001, and were looking forward to a much-needed vacation. Before leaving, we were scrambling with remaining details to address for the dog sitter. I was exasperated when we arrived just in time to watch our plane leave without us. We arranged for the next available flight and went home to wait for a couple of hours.

On the way to the airport for the second time that morning we heard on the radio that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center in NYC. I thought…what a horrible and tragic accident for a plane to crash in the heart of the city. When we arrived at the airport we waited in the lounge where the TV was showing footage of the crash. We watched the airport television screen as the second plane crashed into the south tower. The entire room was in disbelief. It was starting to dawn on everyone that this was no colossal coincidence.

We all watched the shocking events as they unfolded. We sat with the other travelers and were collectively stunned into silence. Our flight was cancelled and we were sent home to wait for further flight information. Once home we sat in front of the TV as reports came in about the plane crash at the Pentagon and the missing flight over Pennsylvania. An announcement was made that all air travel in the entire United States was grounded until further notice. I felt secretly ashamed at my relief over having missed our flight earlier that morning. Normally we hash over news and current events but that morning we were left speechless.

I spent the entire day unsuccessfully looking for something meaningful to do. We reached out to family. As the day wore on troubling thoughts were circulating in my mind. What could possibly cause a person to commit suicide in an attempt to kill others? What would become of the innocent people caught up in the attacks? And finally, where would this lead? I began to understand that this day would forever alter the future for our country in ways we could not yet comprehend.

Lee Rasch

La Crosse 

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