SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Special Report

September 6, 2011

READERS' MEMORIES: SEPT. 11, 2001

(Continued)

Early in the morning of 9/11, Arizona time, we called our Realtor to see how the marketing was going and got "OMG, aren't you watching the terrorist attack in N.Y. on TV?" Of course, we were stunned and immediately turned on the TV. We discussed going home, but transportation was scarce and there was nothing we could do by going home, even if we found a way to get there.

Luckily we had pre-booked rental cars, hotel reservations, etc., in advance, so we drove on to the Hoover Dam (which was closed to tourists) and then drove on to Las Vegas, which was a ghost town. The airports were closed, so no one could fly in or out. People were actually buying cars and driving them to L.A. to get out of town. All the outdoor neon signs and billboards had been cleared of advertising, and American flags and "God Bless America" signs were everywhere. All the outdoor and indoor shows were canceled.

We drove on to Anaheim and visited Disneyland. It, too, was mostly deserted. The few people that were there were in a somber mood. It was not "The Happiest Place."

We left there and drove up to Sacramento and took the train back home.

When we arrived back in Danvers, where we both grew up and went to school, we could not have been prouder of the people of our town. American flags were flying everywhere and there was a feeling of companionship with friends, neighbors and everyone. For we all had had our homeland attacked and were not going to let this horrible event tear us apart. It made us stronger and closer and more happy to be Americans.

David and Carol Lord

Danvers

Sept. 11, 2001, was my first day at Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Newton. I was on campus with about 100 or so new students, and most of the faculty, for orientation. We had enjoyed a morning worship service together, and we gathered to be addressed by the school's president when someone came in and handed him a note. He made the announcement about the first plane hitting and we were all in shock. All the original activities were suspended and we were allowed to leave. However, I couldn't imagine a better place to be to deal with my confusion and so I stayed. After watching some of the coverage on TV and having a quiet lunch together, the remaining students and faculty gathered in the Meetinghouse and we led in a service of grieving. The beautiful hardwood floors of the room were covered with dirt and rocks, broken bricks and glass, and a single red rose. The worship leader taught us how to wail from the bottom of our hearts and we were encouraged to express what we were feeling in word and in song. That experience cemented my call to ministry at a time when I wasn't sure God was truly calling me. It was amazing, to say the least. If I had to be anywhere, I was glad I was there.

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