Posted by: Debbra Dunning Brouillette | September 11, 2013

Where were you 12 years ago today?


On the morning of September 11, 2001, I lived in Evansville, Indiana, and had my office on the basement level of my home. I am a night owl and often don’t start my day until 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. As soon as I walked down to my desk, I listened to a voice mail that I’d received a little earlier. It was Lisa Thomas at Methodist Hospital who was letting me know the Foundation Recognition Dinner I was to attend that evening was cancelled. Then I heard her say something about America being under attack! Those words just did not equate. America is under attack?

I turned on the TV and saw the surreal images of a plane flying into the second World Trade Center tower. As I listened to the newscast and tried to take in what was being said, I was in shock. I remember getting on my knees and praying for America and our safety. At that point, who knew what the rest of the day would bring? Could there be more planes in the air, ready to crash in other locations? I called my Mom and told her to turn on her TV, then spent the rest of the day glued to the television, watching in disbelief and dismay.

My world…our world…changed forever that day. Patriotism was heightened. Our nation was drawn together in a common grief and a common resolve. The American flag was flown everywhere and was on t-shirts, pins, decals, and anywhere it could be placed to show we were proud to be Americans. Like the mighty oak, we may be bowed but cannot be broken.

Twelve years later, I commend many efforts of the government to keep us safe within our borders, but I also lament the state of our nation today and the complacency that has settled in once more. It seems to take a tragedy to make patriotism swell. I suppose that is human nature, but let’s take time today to think of the nearly 3,000 lives lost on this day in 2001, and to salute those who have played and continue to play a role in keeping us safe and free.

While I grew up in the era of the Cold War, when some had fallout shelters in their backyards and we lived with the spectre of bombs being dropped, none of that seemed real and nothing ever happened to us on our home soil. 9-11 changed all that. Our innocence has been lost. My reality, and yours, can change in an instant. And it did on 9-11.

So, where were you 12 years ago today? What were you doing, and how has 9-11 been a pivotal event in your life? Please share your story here. I’d love to read it.



  1. 12 years ago today, I was consulting at a client’s plant in Poland. As I walked the factory floor, I kept hearing Polish, Polish, New York City….Polish, Polish World Trade Center on the radios playing at various work stations. Finally one of the few workers that spoke English told me what was happening…..back at mu hotel, no english speaking channels wre on the TV, but the pictures and videos told the story.

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