On September 11, 2001 at approximately 8:45am EST, America was changed forever when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower and hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower at approximately 9:05am EST; hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 hit the pentagon at approximately 9:30am EST; and hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County, PA, which is about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Fast-forward eight years and here we are, September 11, 2009. The memories are as vivid today as they were that day. I was in Pittsburgh, I just started in a VP of Marketing role three months earlier and my office was in a high-rise in downtown Pittsburgh. I was being the good girl that day and decided to take the bus. I remember it was about 8:45am when a colleague said that the World Trade Center had been hit. I think those of us not in NYC or closeby were thinking "yeah, right". I remember getting on line and just having my eyes glued to the computer or the TV when I finally got home. I remember immediately calling my husband, who was in Livermore, CA at the time - it was before 6am there - and I told him to turn on the TV and be safe! My drama didn't end there. Because we were in Pittsburgh and Flight 93 was so close to Pittsburgh, and our building was practically next door to the US Steel building, the largest building in downtown Pittsburgh, our building was evacuated. In fact, the entire downtown was evacuated, and it took me 3 hours to get back home.
I listened to a lot of radio yesterday and there was a lot of reminiscing of that fateful day. I was listening to KABC and Joe Scarborough had someone from MSNBC on who was working for Bloomberg News at the time. The most eery thing he said was that he was texting people in the World Trade Center that day about financial matters and what was going on immediately after the hit - many of those people perished. Wow, it makes me think a lot of the "drama" in my life is just white noise, and just doesn't matter.
I remember exactly what I was doing on September 11, 2001. So, for this post, I decided to ask some friends how they remember 9/11 and this is what they shared...
Mark Kinsey Stephenson - "My alarm clock went off and the radio news turned on. As I blinked my eyes open, I heard the announcer mention something about New York City under attack. What immediately came to mind was Orson Welles and that this prank wasn't funny, so I wandered over to the TV, flipped on one of the local LA channels and from that point through the rest of the day became horrified, watching and praying. I was also grateful that my dear friend, Camille Renna, from NY, was no longer alive to witness it."
Julia Flint - "I had just moved to LA, and I was working for a company in Connecticut. I tried to dial in to their computer that morning and couldn't get through. Then I tried to call them and all the phones were down. Then I tried to call other friends in Connecticut, same thing. (I have family and friends in NY and CT.) I turned on the news, just as they ran the footage of the first plane. I didn't understand what was happening. The newscasters didn't either. It was all a jumble of information. Frankly, I don't remember what happened after that, as I went into some sort of shocked panic. It was a day that changed our lives forever, from our traveling methods, to removal of some of our rights as citizens, to an implied (whether admitted or not) racial profiling, to anger at gov't officials, to that pervasive fear. But it also brought our country together, at least for a time (I will never forget being in New York shortly afterward -- the feeling of humanity/unity was overwhelming)."
David Dean Bottrell - "For some reason, I didn't turn on the news that morning, so I didn't hear about it until I was in my car and happened to turn on the radio. It was about 8:30 PST. At first (with no visuals) I didn't believe it. Planes had hit buildings before and the buildings hadn't collapsed. It wasn't until I got home and saw the footage that it became real."
Caroline Bielskis - "Although this day is marked with an event that has led to much negativity (pain, fear, hate, anger...), it is also marked with many positive things! Birthdays, for one. And, in 1906, Mahatma Gandhi initiated 'Satyagraha‘, which formed the basis of the modern non-violent resistance movement. In 1989, the ‘ Iron Curtain‘ between communist Hungary and Austria opened, paving the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall."
Neil Hunt - "I was at work, at first we thought it had been a light aircraft that hit the towers, then when we heard a second aircraft hit, we all thought what the hell was going on"
Lindy S. Hudis - "I was still in bed catching up on my sleep, as I had a night job at the time. The phone kept ringing and ringing and I had no idea what was going on. Then, my husband, Steve, told me to turn on the tv and I did and could not believe what I was seeing."
Margaret Chaidez - " I thought it was a commuter plane at first. I remember the whole day and how the world slowed down for a week."
"My cousin was killed in the Pentagon that day. He would have retired from the army in another 3 months. It really is ironic that he had received a purple heart in Vietnam only to die while sitting at his desk on American soil." - Johnny Dam
I think everyone I have talked with about 9/11 says the same thing - they were so amazed to see how strong we were as a nation and how we came together and helped each other. It shouldn't take a tragedy of this magnitude to bring us together. Let's love and protect each other, always.
Do you remember what you were doing on 9/11 or have a 9/11 story of your own? Send it to me. I would love to hear what touched you that day.
Peace and love to all of you!