Remembering 9/11/01

I haven’t written much about the terrorist attacks that happened on this day 13 years ago. Attacks that forever changed our country and our world. No longer were national leaders the only ones to issue and carryout attacks on foreign soil. Yes, there had been previous terror attacks. The airplane bombing over Scotland, the embassy in Lebanon. However, those were far away. We still felt safe and naive here in North America. No more would we feel that way.

The morning of 9/11/01, I was getting up to go to work when God Bless America came on the radio. That was odd. Then they told World Trade Center in New York City had been hit with a jetliner. A few minutes later, I got a call from the principal where I worked saying to turn on the tv because school had been cancelled. There I watched in horror as Tower 2 fell. As the horrible day progressed, we learned more attacks occurred.

National airspace over the entire US and Canada was closed to all civilian planes, both commercial and private for several days. It was eerily quiet since we are used to hearing all kinds of airplanes flying overhead all day. This was a hardship here in Alaska for several reasons. It was right in the middle of hunting season. Many hunters out in the bush had no way to know what happened. Guides had to get special permission to fly and pick up isolated hunters from their camps. Food in grocery stores started to run out since cargo planes couldn’t fly. Rice, flour, and sugar were actually rationed. You weren’t allowed to buy more than 50 pounds of flour and rice or 20 pounds of sugar.

In Valdez, Alaska the oil tankers were all ordered out of port and back to sea in case there was an attack on the oil terminal there. Major hotels and government offices in Anchorage were evacuated under orders from Gov. Knowles.

It was a very scary, tense, and uncertain time. We learned a new phrase “war on terror”. No longer was war simply between nations. Now it was between ideals, between freedom and fear. Fear can not win.

An old fashioned weekend

This July we were supposed to sail from Kodiak to Seward. However due to engine problems, my husband decided that the kids and I should take the ferry across instead while he sailed the boat alone to Seward. That was ok since we got to stay with our friends while waiting for him. They have a large family including 2 children about the same age as mine.

It turned out to be a good week to visit. We had a lot of fun. The kids played and we chatted.We took a drive up to the mountains and went hiking.

At one point, she laid out some cloth to make a shirt for her youngest son. My son happened to come upstairs then. She asked him if he could guess what we were doing. He quickly and enthusiastically replied (somewhat to my embarrassment) “Oh! You’re making me a shirt, and it’s even my favorite color.” This despite the fact the pattern hadn’t been laid out yet and I’ve never made him a shirt. It was just in a big pile. He got his drink and returned back downstairs.

So my generous friend decided there was enough fabric to make both boys a shirt. We just needed to use the next size larger on the pattern for my son. Since I’ve never made a shirt before, she taught me. It turned out good and fit him well.

Friday evening they were having their church social at the local ball fields. The youth were going to play softball. These are conservative Mennonites. The men and boys were in jeans and button front shirts. The ladies and girls were wearing long dresses. It was almost surreal like a scene out of Little House on the Prairie. However, it was a lot of fun. My son played softball for the first time and I played 2 games of kickball with my daughter and the younger kids.

Sunday morning was church. However, this was a very special Sunday. A bus load of Amish were visiting. That’s right, Amish. Saturday was spent cooking and setting up to get ready. They were expecting more visitors than the normal number of people who attend services.

All was ready when the tour bus pulled in. Guests were seated in the normal pews while regular church members and I sat in folding chairs at the back rented for the occasion. Youth from church and guests were seated on folding chairs up front behind the podium. It was crowded but we all fit.

While the Amish were expected, another group of about a dozen adults also showed up. The women wore headcoverings but not dressed conservatively like everyone else. They left during the Bible study before the sermon. No one I spoke to knew who they were or why they came or left.

After services, there was a pot luck of creamed ham, salads, scalloped potatoes, rolls, chips, and desserts. The Amish said they were glad for the home cooked meal after eating out so much recently on their trip. The kids played on the playground and large church yard while the adults sat and talked. Finally the Amish loaded back into their bus and left. It was among the most interesting church services I’ve ever attended.

Overall, it was a good, old fashioned weekend.