Friday, August 1, 2008

One Year

*Note: This entry was moved here from another blog. The pictures that originally accompanied this post were not transferable.

Looking back through my old blog I find chunks of my life. Things I am glad that I wrote about. Small snippets in time, memories. There is one thing that I didn't write about that I wish I would have. One memory I don't want to lose. That event happened one year ago today.
At 6:05 pm August 1, 2007 the St. Anthony Falls bridge over 35 W in Minneapolis fell into the river below. 13 people lost their lives. Families were ripped apart and some people's lives will never be the same.
Watching the news coverage this week has really taken me back to that evening that was as normal as any other. We ate dinner, Shawn was still in the kitchen when I turned on the news. Holy shit, come look at this! A bridge collapsed. This can't be right. A bridge collapsed.
We watched in horror. Certain for the first few hours that someone had to have blown one end of the bridge up to make it come down the way it did. They had to have. Bridges don't fall down. They just don't. Oh, but the do.
As the coverage rolled in I saw a white car with a sun roof in the wreckage. It appeared to me to look like Cat's car. She had just bought it. I had no real memory of what it looked like. It was white with a sun roof. I tried to call. Of course there was no signal. Everyone in Minnesota and beyond was trying to reach their loved ones to make sure they were ok. Finally got a text through. She missed seeing the collapse by minutres. She was safe. Pure relief.
The calls came in to our house by the dozens. Not only from Minnesota friends but from people all over. Was Shawn working on the bridge? Is he ok? How do you think this happened?
We watched raw footage of victims being pulled off the bridge and out of the water. One of my most poignant memories of a victim was a large man bloodied, dirty and in obvious pain. Civilians were helping him off the bridge as firefighters, police officers and paramedics just ran past. I remember askking over and over why no one was helping him. Why didn't a paramedic stop and make sure he was ok? I had no idea of the magnatude of this disaster. Not yet anyway. It turns out the victim I was so worried about was a UPS delivery man. The media covered his story a few days later. He was badly injured but would be alright.
Another victim I focused on early in the disaster coverage turned out to be covered by national media for several days after. Hers was the little red car that had a pickup land on top of it. Melissa somebody. She too was fine.
So many others were not and in some ways it is a miracle so many were ok. All the construction workers that rode the bridge down in to the river. Surely nearly all of them perished. Thankfully no. Only one construction worker died. How did that happen?
There are so many memories from that day. The Tastee Bread truck that was burning. That one was especially hard to watch knowing the driver was in the truck, unable to escape. We had lost Scott only a year and a half before. The school bus that I thought had to be empty at first. It wasn't. 60+ kids lived through the horror around them and according to the news, most still aren't ok. I wonder if they ever will be?
Then there were the heroes. Every day people like you and I. Unfortunate enough to be caught up in construction on that fateful day. Men and women who didn't think, just did, to save so many lives that rush hour.
On the one year anniversary the emotions come rushing back. Disbelief, horror, worry, sadness, anger. People say they will never forget 9/11 and that is true. I won't, but I will never forget 8/1 either.
Artemio Trinidad-Mena
Christina Sacorafas
Greg Jolstad was the construction worker that perished that day.
Julia Blackhawk
Patrick Holmes
Paul Eickstadt
Peter Hausmann
Richard Chit died with his Mother Vera Peck
Sadiya Sahal was pregnant. Her 2 year old daughter Hana was also lost.
Scott Sathers
Sherry Engebretsens family appeared on all the news networks asking people to pray for her. Her two daughters made the Dean's list last year.
Vera Peck
As I have been sitting here watching the coverage I had a few more thoughts I wanted to add.
I remember going to a Twins game a few days after the collapse. Everywhere therr was 35 W logos. On the players, in the stands, on the walls. When the game let out we went down to Gold Medal park to take a look at the bridge up close. It was as if time had suspended. The cars were all still there in the same places they landed. In the water and on the bridge. At that point all the bodies hadn't been recovered and I remember the eerie feeling that came over me as I stared into the water and realized their were bodies under there just waiting to be recovered.
I also recall early on calling my boys who were in Wyoming at my brothers and telling them to turn on CNN. They both had so many questions. Hannah was afraid for months after the collapse of driving over bridges.
Also Cat came over that evening when the Twins game let out. It was so nice to have her here and know that she was safe. We watched for hours saying little, what was there to say?

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I am Mom to 4 of the most kick ass kids ever! I learn shenanigans from them every day.



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