10 years ago I decided I needed to go into work early; something seemed important. On 9/11, I was scheduled to fly to San Francisco in the afternoon, but went into the office to try and catch up on a couple of things (in those days you could get to the airport at the very last minute).
I was one of two people in the office at the time. I remember Annie, our office manager coming in and telling me about the first plane (some stupid recreational pilot I thought); and then listening to KYW News radio when the second plane hit (oh shit.)
The rest of the day is a blur to me. I remember not wanting to fly that day, as if that were going to be an option. I remember that the Internet was useless, and that our only visual line to the world was little black and white 13″ TV which didn’t have cable.
We stayed at work that day – not that much work was done. I specifically remember spending a lot of time with my co-workers in that conference room.
I kind of wished I had just walked out and planted myself in front of a TV all day. Even without doing that, the images are seared in my mind to this day.
And while that day feels like it was just yesterday, so much has passed, so many lives have been lost, and so many questions still remain, that it also feels like another lifetime.
What are your memories of that day?
I was actually running late for work and was still at home listening to Howard Stern. At first, given what I was listening to, I thought it was a terrible joke. I am pretty sure I was still home when the second plane hit, but not positive because the day is kind of a blur.
I remember that at work all we had was a bad no-cable tv too shoved by someone’s desk at the end of my floor.
Two people I had booked tickets for were in the air on the way to State College, PA and their families were in an utter panic. They landed safely and didn’t know what had happened when they arrived. By then flight 93 had crashed.
I also had booked a traveler on a flight back From London to Boston and I had a terrible time figuring out where his plane was. His poor wife was terrified all day. It was awful. The airlines were being very cautious about giving out any info about where flights even were. I finally tracked him down by finding out he had checked back in to his London hotel as their flight had been turned around. Phone lines were so overwhelmed that it was very hard to get this info. He hadn’t even been able to call home.
I remember tracking down friends in NYC to make sure they were ok which I could only do by email. I think my uncle had been headed to the WTC for a meeting that day but hadn’t arrived yet. I remember feeling guilty at my relief that the people I knew were safe.
I remember how kind the woman at the hotel in London I spoke to was. I remember that for a period of time it felt like the whole world was on our side and nobody hated Americans. The people who crashed the planes excepted of course.
Also remember the sick feeling in my stomach and the additional panicky feeling when the towers actually fell. Towers in Boston being evacuated.
My memories. Hmmmm. I worked for Toyota Financial at the time. We learned about it through a call to one of our customers who while on the phone said, "Well, shit. A plane just hit the World Trade Center. I have to go." Soon the phones went dead. We had no tv. No radio. We were frantically refreshing whatever news website we could through on. Eventually they let us go. I curled up on the couch at Ben's apartment. I stayed there until he got home. We watched the news for a while and when i couldn't take any more. I took a nap.
This year. I watched not a single piece of coverage. I did what I suspect I will be doing for the rest of my life on this day. I celebrated Wes's birthday. I was upset that he was born on 9/11, but now I see it as a blessing. It is something to be about.
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