Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you when...?

Remembering 9/11/01 today...

So... where were you?

I was at work. I forget exactly what I was working on... that's not the important part of the memory, I guess. I was on the phone with a friend's wife when she said, "A plane just hit the World Trade Center." It seemed like a tragic accident at the time. Initially, nobody knew what was going on, and at the time, we (and some of the news outlets) thought that it was a small passenger plane.

Our building isn't known for allowing any type of good radio reception. My manager at the time had a radio in her window office, and was trying to tune in to the news. Reports were totally chaotic. Was it a small, Cessna-sized plane? Was it a passenger jet like some reports were now saying? We pretty much stopped working at that point and tried to get something out of the radio reports. CNN, Fox News, etc. were still speculating on their websites.

They eventually all converged on the news that a passenger jet had hit the WTC and were attempting to figure out why. Then the second plane hit.

I'm sure you all remember the feeling... horrified, unable to do anything except listen. And read. The radio was turned up, and a few of us tried to dig up some web sites that would tell us anything new. CNN, Fox News, ABC News... all the major sites were useless. Slowed to a crawl with everyone trying to access them at once. The only site that would load (mostly) reliably was the Drudge Report (which, to its benefit, is as flash-less as can be). Then the Pentagon was hit. Then another plane was said to have crashed in Pennsylvania... some had speculated that it had been shot down. The full story didn't come out until later.

Not much work went on the rest of that day. Those of us who had friends in NYC tried to make sure they were ok (to my relief, my NYC friends were). We went through our routine after we exhausted the news, but we really didn't get much done. On my way home, a man was outside at the end of his driveway with a home-made sign, saying "Honk if you love our country." I honked. And I cried. He was there every evening for the next week or two doing the same thing.

I got home and hugged Ellen, who was about 9 months old at the time (and thankfully too young to understand what was all over the TV that day).

In the following days, I learned that our company lost one of its own on one of the flights that struck the WTC. I saw him in the hallways, said hi, but never knew him. And never would. I worried that, as a government contractor, we might be a target as well. But most of all, I was determined to do what I could to support our customers and friends in the military, who would most likely be putting their lives on the line in the future as a result of this attack.

The footage on History Channel is hard to watch. But I'm watching. And remembering.

To the victims of 9/11/01, rest in peace. God bless all those who risked their lives at the WTC to try to rescue those they could, those at the Pentagon who did the same, and the heroic passengers of flight 93 who prevented another incident and at the same time showed everyone what heroes really are. Thank you.

1 comment:

Leap Year Dad said...

There was an all-hands meeting in the building that morning that went until 8:45 or so. Karen called, left a v-mail which kicked off my pager. I phoned home and was told to about the initial plane strike. On the second floor, we had about 4-5 people listening to my radio, getting the one station it could. We were able to get on the web, not to Fox or anything domestic, but to the BBC. The blurbs came out between the two, and the realization of what was happening.

The rest of the day was confused and numb. My irrational response to this irrational event was to immediately purchase a gun (never got to it) because it would be something to do as a fight response.

It has colored all our lives in ways that are in-perceivable and contaminated our freedoms. A price for a national "ignorance" of the outside world? Vanity? who's to say where it lies on that gray scale of weighting. I've canceled trips because of the dates of travel to help comfort at home.

I guess that it helps remove any doubts about my choice of occupation and the place of occupation (not that I had any doubt before). To know that what I help to produce will help protect our nation and our troops by allowing them to fulfill their missions. And hopefully, prevent casualties on the innocent, and even the forces opposing our national intent to stabilize and promote peace.