Lauren DeFranco reflects on 9/11

September 7, 2011 8:12:29 AM PDT
I remember September 11th so vivdly. The sun was shining and it was one of those picture-perfect September mornings. I was pregnant with my first child, and scheduled to come in for a night shift. I turned on the TV to see what was going on, and watched as the first plane hit. I immediately knew it was terrorism. I was well versed on the subject, having covered the indictment of the suspects in first World Trade Center bombings. Because I was expecting a baby, I was told not to come in. It was apparent this was a battlefield. I was glued to the TV. I cried with the rest of the world, as the first tower fell. I worried for all of my colleagues in the field, who showed such bravery in the face of danger. And I wept for the victims and their families.

The next day, I was assigned to cover LaGuardia Airport. I kept asking myself, what am I doing here? How can I bring a child into this new and frightening world? But somehow I managed to put my fears aside, and do what every other American did that day. Get up, go to work, and play some small role.

My photographer and I were doing live shots inside the airport, when we noticed two men being detained by security. Suddenly they evacuated the airport, and employees were running out screaming "We're going to die!" For the first time in my career, I was terrified. There was panic over what turned out to be a false alarm. Something that would have been routine in months prior to 9/11. But nothing was routine now. Life as we knew it had changed forever.

Ten years later, I believe we have evolved into a stronger, less naive version of ourselves. We as Americans will always be united in our patriotism. As New Yorkers, we will stand together to protect the city we love. And as individuals, we will remember the friends and loved ones who were killed. The human spirit is as resilient as ever. I am now the mother of two children and I worry about their future. I can only hope that this new generation will never again witness a tragedy of this magnitude. And to this day, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when its a bright, sunny September morning.

Lauren DeFranco