Last night while we were watching TV, John said my buddies in the Army are posting on Facebook that Osama Bin Laden is DEAD! Seriously? We surfed all the news stations, but nothing! Ten minutes later, BREAKING NEWS: BIN LADEN DEAD! Leave it to Facebook to break the story before mainstream media.
We had planned a trip to Hawaii with my mother-in-law (we didn't think she had much longer to live), my father-in-law(Raylan's Step-Dad), Raylan's Sister and her husband to leave on September 12, 2011. The four of them had arrived at our house on on the 10th so we could all fly on the same plane to Honolulu two days later.
Thanks to my Hubby, our trip was planned to perfection. He wanted his Mom's "last" trip (first trip to Hawaii) to be the best of her life.. First Class seats, house of the beach....... We looked forward to the 12th with great anticipation. Then the morning of September 11th.
I remember the phone ringing early that morning, it was Greta. She said are you guys going on your trip given the plane crashing into the World Trade Center? I said are you kidding? No, it's all over the news! We all became glued to the TV set, watching the days events unfold with complete horror, horror masterminded by Osama Bin Laden. It was if a futuristic movie was playing on TV, but it sadly was real life.
On September 12th while we grieved for those who were lost in the attacks, my Hubby felt panic that his "Mom's" last trip, her trip of a lifetime, may never take place. It had meant so much to all of us, but more so to my Hubby, he wanted his last goodbye with his Mom. Back then, Raylan was a consultant for Delta. He made a few calls to his contact explaining our trip. Did he have any idea when planes would be allowed to fly again? What would be the process once the ban was lifted for getting on a flight? Could he help make our trip happen?
The No Fly Ban was lifted on September 13th. We were scheduled on a flight to Honolulu for September 14th at 11:00 a.m. The rest of our family was extremely worried, including the kids that we were still going. As we explained to the kids, you can't live you life by fear. Air line travel wasn't any less safe on the 14th than the 11th, it was probably more safe. We just knew the worse that could happen. Given all the security, there was no way the terrorists would strike again this soon!
I believe we were the first flight out of SLC after the events of 9/11. We were all frightened, but tried not to show it. I kept repeating everything I had said to the kids in my head, but my hands were shaking like a leaf when we arrived at the SLC Airport. We walked through the airport that looked more like a ghost town than an international airport. We passed dozens of empty gates until we arrived at ours.
The staff came on the intercom about a half hour before our flight was to leave, they were just waiting for the pilots. Another intercom message, two of the flight attendants for the flight were grounded in Denver. They made some calls and found two who willing flight attendants, who would be there in an hour. Not one single person complained at the four hour wait. When we arrived safely in Honolulu you could feel the collective sigh of relief from all of us on the plane! We made it!
A fair amount of our trip was spent listening to all the heartbreaking stories of loss. It constantly reminded us that we were extremely blessed to have our last goodbye with Raylan's Mom, something that the families of 9/11 never got.
I'm thankful that the mastermind behind 9/11 is no longer roaming this earth. My heart goes out to all the families who lost someone on 9/11. As for us, it turned out my Father-In-Law died suddenly three months later from undiagnosed Lung Cancer. My mother-in-law would live for another four years, but that was her last trip, Trip of a Lifetime. I'm thankful that we got two weeks to share paradise with both his parents. A reminder that you never know when your last goodbye will come, so make it count!