I remember September 11th.
The first word I heard about it was while driving down Gordon Highway listening to Don Imus out of New York on the radio. I quickly made my way to Gerald Jones Volvo and got in front of a little TV set in the used car lot across the street.
Like everyone, I was petrified. Horror and fear of the unknown swept over me as I drove home.
In the ensuing days, there was a sense the world would never be the same. (That sense came true: the world hasn’t been the same.) As is our custom, the media began seeking out the heroes, highlighting our compassion and selflessness. All first responders across the country that day became heroes.
Our perception of fellow humans was altered. Not since Hitler walked the earth had evil been so visceral, so real and alive.
I couldn’t come to terms with what had happened. The thought of the Twin Towers jumpers still gives me vertigo. It’s a horror that we’ve all had to deal with in our own way. The country banded together and leaned on one another for a couple of years as we collectively went through the grieving process as one.
September 11th was the worst anniversary I could ever imagine… until September 12, 2012.
My 19-year-old daughter was hanging out with friends on a Wednesday night at the Columbia County Library complex. At the same time, Lucky Jackson, 43, was drinking at Margaritaz across the street from the Cracker Barrel by I-20. Around 10:30 he stumbled drunk out of the bar, stopping to steady himself on a light pole before climbing behind the wheel of his pickup truck.
At the moment of impact, Jordan was turning left onto Washington Road from Ronald Reagan Drive. Lucky was driving toward her on Washington Road, speeding, weaving and with a blood alcohol content of .281, more than three times the legal limit. He ran the red light.
I knew my daughter was going to die. When deputies arrived at my home and drove me to the hospital under the guise of needing insurance information, deep down I knew she would not survive.
Jordan was the most beautiful and the funniest person I’ve ever known. I fell head over heels in love with her the day she was born and the two of us grew up together. I had comfort knowing there was a person in the world who loved me unconditionally, the same as I loved her.
It’s been four years now.
I don’t have anything to preach here, no words of wisdom and no lessons learned. I simply miss talking to my baby girl.
If you see someone about to drive drunk, stop them. Period.