I have always felt like I didn't quite have a right to experience that day so dramatically since I wasn't part of the accident. It is a great relief to read people's accounts who were also witnesses and were as devastated by it as I was.
I am Kathryn Berger Muhs, sister of Richard Berger. I was six years old when the planes crashed that day. We lived on Laurel Canyon Blvd. which was a few blocks from the school. I had been having a reoccurring dream of the earth shaking violently, followed by me frantically searching for my mother for safety. In the dream, I never
found her but saw a tremendous ball of fire before waking in a panic. I don't know how long I had the dream, but it had to be weeks. I never told anyone about it until years after the fact.
The morning of the accident, I was playing paper dolls in my brothers' bedroom. I still remember looking at the black metal bunk beds with the brown bedspreads as I played. When the explosion happened and the
earth shook, exactly as in the dream, my first thought was that I had somehow caused this disaster. I was too young to realize that it was simply a premonition. I was consumed with fear and guilt. My mother later told me that I didn't speak for a month after that morning.
I was determined to find my mother and not be lost in fear as in the dream. I ran from the bedroom and made it into the living room just as my mother ran out the front door. I remember vividly that she had on a
bright green skirt with large white flowers. I followed her outside and grabbed onto her skirt and felt safe for one second before I looked up and saw the incredible orange ball of fire surrounded by black smoke
and flying metal debris. My mother threw me to our next door neighbor and ran toward the school. I don't remember a thing after that until my other brother, Paul, and I were allowed to stand outside of
Richard's hospital room weeks later. He was under what appeared to be a tent like structure to protect the third degree burns he sustained on his back. He was on morphine so I'm not sure whether he knew we were
there. I distinctly remember the overwhelming kindness of two of his nurses: Mrs. Bowling and Mrs. Seager. His doctors were also compassionate and one of them gave Richard a small scale train. Roy Rogers brought his show to the lawn of the hospital so Richard and the other boys could escape their situations momentarily.
That event controlled my life for years. I lived in fear that something equally extraordinary might happen again. I vowed to never have children so I wouldn't have to deal with the loss I witnessed. Most difficult of all, however, was watching Richard suffer at the hands of cruelty from others. I remember the day he returned home from
the swimming pool. The physical therapist had said swimming would be beneficial, but that he'd have to wear a t-shirt to protect his burned skin. People actually made fun of him because he wouldn't take off the
shirt. I felt utterly useless that day when I saw his pain and could do nothing to take it away.
I finally met a wonderful man and married at 27. After years of therapy, I had two children but ended up being ridiculously overly protective. I tried to explain to them why I was like that, but like
many of you have mentioned, if you weren't directly connected to that day, it's difficult to understand.
I shall send this site to Richard in case he would like to communicate. Richard is well and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Interestingly enough, I've never directly asked him about that day. I was afraid that if life has been this difficult for me, I was afraid to imagine what it must be like for him
Kathryn Berger Muhs