5 years ago this morning I was getting dressed in my little studio in northwest Portland, and I turned on the radio, which was unusual for me but I wanted to know what the weather was going to be. It happened to be just after the second plane hit the south tower. I was really confused at first, and I ended up being late for work because I had to scramble to find my walkman so I could listen to what else was happening as I walked downtown to the KOIN tower. We ended up going home early because people were worried that if Portland got hit it might be that building. Living so far away from the scene, though, I felt very removed from the rest of the country's mourning. I saw the trade center when I visited New York for the first time in college, and I think if I'd been back since 2001 I wouldn't feel that way. There's something about living in a town of 50,000 people, on the other side of the continent from the "important" cities like DC and NYC, that makes you feel very safe from that kind of situation; and therefore (unfortunately) very uninvolved with it.
It was quite a wake-up call, I think, regardless of where I live; and today I've been quietly thinking about the people I know and the people I don't know who had to be a part of that tragedy, and feeling very thankful that I am where I am.