It takes a lot for my jaw to drop and stare in amazement. At 8:45 am on September 11, 2001, I had just poured a cup of coffee and I was walking the maze back to my office when a group of co-workers informed me that a plane out of Boston, MA had just struck the twin towers. For whatever reason the true impact didn't hit me at first. I remember thinking someone was going to lose their job over that episode. In my mind I figured a small plane was flying to low and a wing or something must have clipped some part of the tower. Then they told me it was a jet that flew directly into the north tower.
At the time I just lived a few blocks away from the office. Everyone was listening to the radio reports but I went to my office to turn on a television that hadn't been turned on in forever. The television had bad reception but they were already repeating the film of the impact over and over. The clouds of black smoke, the blaze, and people dying. I left the building and drove back to my home. I walked into my bedroom and unplugged the television, carried it out to my car, and returned to the office. The trip took less than fifteen minutes total but when I returned I was told another jet from Boston had flown into the south tower. Like everyone else in the world that's when I knew we were under terrorist attack.
I immediately set the television up in the verification room and a group of us watched in horror. During the next thirty minutes the Federal Aviation shut down all New York City airports and the Port Authority ordered all bridges and tunnels in New York and New Jersey closed. At 9:45 another jet crashed into the Pentagon and they announced the White House had been evacuated. I sent everyone home. Only a few of us, including the sequel, (ex-wife) remained at the office and we would be further shocked as we watched the report that another jet had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
By now the whole nation had been shut down. People were numb. Afraid for their families. Afraid for themselves. The world changed at 8:45 am on September 11, 2001. I changed. A new era had begun. Thousands of men, women, and children died. The horrific impact effected everyone in this country. This new era was created out of hatred towards Americans. We found out we were vulnerable. Americans felt hostility and animosity towards our attackers. We hated in return.
"Hatred begets hatred." I think its time we start looking for real solutions to world problems that are only being addressed by color coded alerts that create additional panic. None of us want to turn on the television and repeat the insanity that ensued on 9-11. You, me, and our families have 9-11 imprinted into our minds as the most tragic day in American history. Somewhere in the world someone could be plotting something bigger. Its time to put away the weapons and start opening our minds to solutions. I don't know the solution but I'm willing to be part of any reasonable strategy that would prevent another 9-11.
My friend Dennis called be this morning while I was writing this post. He told me he wasn't going to read anything about 9-11 today. He told me that we all knew what happened, it made him depressed to think about it, and he refused to take part in remembering the sadness. Sometimes I wish I was more like Dennis.