The Coast News Group

Trying to find solace amidst the attacks

My family and I were camping at Silver Lake, in the June Lake area, north of Mammoth.  Around 6:30 a.m. I ran into the campground host and he had CNN on satellite TV in his RV.  Planes missing, airspace closed — possibly 50,000 dead in the towers. Was L.A. next? 
The news traveled very quickly around the campground. In three campsites, vacationing members of our military were throwing stuff into their rigs as quick as they could, and took off. They said they would be needed back at their bases.  
Around 10 a.m. another camper had returned from the nearest gas station out on Highway 395. He reported gas prices hadn’t gone up, and his credit card still worked. These were things we were all concerned about in the first few hours. Would we be able to get home?
I looked up at the majestic Carson Peak, which towers over the June Lake area at 10,909-feet, and gave thanks. No matter what was happening around our country, we would be pretty safe here, at least for now.
That night, nine fellow campers gathered around our van’s radio as we listened to the President’s speech. Now that it was nighttime, we could finally pick up KFI AM640 out of L.A. for live coverage. President Bush’s words assured us as a nation, that we would be safe. 
Early the next morning, I was in Mammoth, standing in line at Schat’s Bakery. Lee Greenwood’s song “Proud To Be An American” came on. I completely lost it. Sobbing, I had to go outside and sit down. A customer leaving put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, “We’ll be okay.” 
Normally, high in the sky jets fly over this part of the Sierras as they start their descending approach to Bay Area airports. With air space closed, it had been an eerie silence. Sitting around the campfire on Sept. 14, we finally heard that sound. It was a precious and healing sound. We all looked up and saw the plane’s lights and knew that our country’s worst nightmare was probably over.