I turned on PBS for my kids on Tuesday, September 11 and got myself a cup of coffee. My husband ran back inside after starting his car and said, 'Turn on the TV, something's happening at the World Trade Center.' I left the kids to teletubbies in one room and turned on the TV in the other. We're a few hours behind New York and it took a long time for me to understand that a plane had crashed into the first tower.
I thought, 'What a fluke. What an awful flukey accident.' Then I saw the second plane approach. Dummy me. Yep, that's the defining moment.
And thank God for Public Television. They kept Mr. Rogers and Arthur and Teletubbies and Zaboomafoo and Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street on all day - their normal programming - so the kids could watch something safe while their mother fell apart in the next room.
It's that last detail...the PBS programming...that makes this compelling. Since I have no children, it never crossed my mind kids would need something safe to watch. If this was part of a writing sample it would strike me as a fresh take on something I'd heard already.
Since it happened to you, you don't have to imagine it of course, but if you are writing, the next layer after"what happens" is often where you find the things that makes your work fresh.