Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 — Never Forget!

It started out as an ordinary day. It didn't stay that way for long. I had just finished my shower in the Mountain time zone, and was getting dressed, when I heard the news that an airplane had hit a building in New York. I thought it had to be an accident.

I was having a glass of milk before driving to work when news came of the second plane hitting the other tower of the World Trade Center. It was now obvious we were under attack.

The best thing I could do is go to my workplace. It's closer than my home to the base areas where I could assist if needed. So I went. I was still on my way when the Pentagon was hit. News of the collapse of the World Trade Center South Tower broke as I pulled into a workplace parking spot.

News of the collapse of the World Trade Center North Tower and of the crash in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, reached me at my workplace by radio and internet — the latter seeming terribly slow. By the time my employer told everyone to go home, it had become clear no part of the attack was in our area. Whether we were ever a part of the enemy's plans, or whether whether some part of their plan had been thwarted, was not clear.

I didn't try to leave immediately; I knew there would be a traffic problem. But after a while, I walked out. I came within sight of the parking lot, and saw a traffic jam that made me think of the one that occurred when a snowstorm closed the city as Operation Desert Storm began. I went back to my office to follow the news developments.

The traffic jam was gone by the time I came back out an hour and a half later. The drive home was spooky. My route took me through the roads closest to the city's airport. The activity there was normally a constant, but now there was nothing moving. At all. I drove by, got home, and spent the rest of the day following the news.

Even today, eight years later, the strong impressions of that day remain with me. I suspect they always will.

No comments: