Remembering 9/11

Today is the 16th anniversary of a terrible day in American history. It is a day that no one will ever and should never forget. Lives were lost. Lives and families were changed forever. Here is my memory from that day.

It was a day that I would have normally been at the public library, but there was a staff meeting at the jail, so I started my day there. At one point during the meeting, the director’s secretary came in and handed them a note. A few minutes later, they meeting was stopped and the TV was being turned on. I assumed there was some local news story that might have implications for the jail so I decided to make a run for the restroom and then come back to see what I had missed. It was obviously a much bigger story than I expected. I immediately called my wife who was at work in DC and asked if she had any staff in NYC at the time and to see if she had heard the news.  Eventually I did head to the library, listening to the news on the way. I was on the road when the first tower fell.

Once at the library, we all sat in the meeting room with a TV on and I emailed back and forth with my wife checking to see what she was being told in DC. It was a little scary when there were reports of another plane that could be heading toward DC.  I was eventually sent home at 1. I took the long way home as my two normal ways would take me past Ft Meade or NSA. I figured it was not a good idea to attempt to go that direction. I was home by 1:30 and then spent the afternoon taking calls from family and following my wife’s attempts to get out of DC. She did eventually get a ride to a nearby town and I was able to pick her up from there. My day was tense enough even knowing that we were all safe. I can’t imagine what that day was like for people with family at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

The eeriest thing for me personally was actually the next morning. I went out to get my newspaper and I knew that planes were still grounded, but a plane was flying overhead. I assume it was some sort of military plane, but it was odd to see it in the sky. I took a moment and stared at it like someone who had never seen a plane before. It was odd to be so mesmerized by something that the day before would have been ordinary.

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3 Comments

  1. You’ve captured what a lot of us felt that day.

    The strongest memory I have is a scent memory. I was at my local post office and could smell and taste the fire at the Pentagon, which wasn’t all that far from me. I was supposed to go into DC for a meeting with a client that day, but called to cancel. My client spent the rest of the day trying to get out of DC to meet me at my house. I don’t remember what time in the afternoon he got there, but I do remember that as I was talking to him about canceling the meeting, I was watching the events unfold on TV and saw the first tower fall. Unforgettable.

  2. I was far away, in New Mexico, at work in my Health Department office in Santa Fe. Everyone ended up silently gathered around a TV.until the deputy division director turned it off and told us all to go back to work. He was the type who dealt with painful or frightening things by refusing to deal with them.
    That day and the wars that followed re-triggered my semi-dormant military PTSD. I got back into treatment, but I still can’t see the videos of the planes hitting the towers, or a lot of other images, without choking up.

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