I know this post is being published on 9/12, but I’m writing it early Sunday morning 9/11. Regardless of the day, I will always remember.
I will always remember what I was doing on September 11, 2001. I am in industrial sales, and at that time I worked for a metal stamping company that made automobile parts.
I was at our facility in Mt. Juliet, TN that morning, as I had some quotes that needed to be finalized and sent out. When I fired up my laptop it was having some problems. Our IT guy, Mike, had an office just down the hall, so I went to see if he was in.
Mike is a great guy, that in computer terms is user-friendly. He’s sarcastic to the extreme, but he is always willing to help, rather than making you feel like you’re bothering him. So I go into his office, which we lovingly referred to as the “computer pit” and asked him if he could take a look at my laptop. He said he was just finishing up on another item, but he’d be down in a minute. I looked at a screen he had open on another computer, and I saw a tall building with smoke rolling out of it.
“What’s happening there?” I asked.
He didn’t even turn around, and said that some idiot pilot had flown a plane into one of the Twin Towers in New York City.
I couldn’t believe it. “How close are they to the airport?”
“Not close enough that you should ever hit them on a landing or take off. The guy must have been completely out of it to be that far off target. Unbelievable.” He finished what he was doing, walked to the office where my laptop was, and started working on it to see what the problem was.
After a few minutes his phone chirped. We used the cell phones that had the two-way walkie-talkie feature on them if both parties have these type phones. He looked at it and said, “It’s my wife.” Touching the side button he blurted, “I’ll call you back in a minute, I’m working on a guy’s laptop.”
“They hit the second tower, Mike.” Her voice came out loud and clear, but I still wasn’t sure I had heard her correctly.
Evidently, Mike wasn’t either, “What?”
“The other Twin Tower has been hit by a second plane. It’s not an accident.” I’ll never forget those words as long as I live. A chill came from my inner core extending out in every direction of my body, and my mind started to race. Two planes flown into each tower within minutes of each other? Who would do such a thing? Why? How many people were in the planes? How many had died in the towers? Were there still people trapped?
Mike spun out of the chair and sprinted to his office. I was right behind him. When I entered his office, the screen played out the terrifying scene in front of us. We watched in silence for several minutes. One by one people came into his office to watch the news as it became available. Most of the people in the plant were in the cafeteria watching at the same time, but we stayed with Mike. Mike was from New York City.
I talked with Mike one day after he had come back from a trip home to New York City. He didn’t have any direct family or friends that were killed in the attacks of 9/11, but he went to ground zero while he was there. He said he didn’t see a single argument while he was visiting. People were cordial in markets. They would nod to you if you made eye contact on the street. Even cabbies seemed friendlier to him. He told me that New Yorkers wear their toughness and in-your-face attitude with pride. Now, they were wearing a badge of togetherness and resolve: to weather the storm, no matter how strong, until they came out on the other side stronger, braver, and prouder than ever.
I know there are numerous stories of that fateful day, and I hope if you want to share yours that you will feel free to do so here in the comment section of this blog.
I raise my glass to those who lost their lives that day. To the pilots, attendants, and passengers on the flights, to the office workers in the Twin Towers and at The Pentagon, and to the brave police, firefighters, and emergency workers who gave their lives trying to save others. May you rest in peace knowing you’ll never be forgotten. ~clink~