Friday, September 9, 2011

September 11th 2001 - As I Remember It

On the anniversary of the terrible tragedy 10 years ago I though I would recap the day as I remember it.  I arrived at work on Sept 11th at Frontier Corporation in Rochester, NY at around 8:30am.  Shortly after getting there and getting settled in, a buddy Steve in the cube next to me said he heard on the radio a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  Obviously we were all quite surprised and thought that it must have been  an accident.  Looking back at a timeline, that was right around 8:46am.

We were talking back and forth and several people had acquaintances they knew that worked in one of the towers or had recently.  They were checking with their family members to see if everyone they knew was accounted for and ok.  Shortly afterwards, someone said that CNN was on in the 1st floor main conference room.  While everyone was getting in touch with family/friends and arriving at work, I went down by myself to the conference room to see what was going on. 

CNN was on the screen and the image of the first tower with the smoke billowing out from the top was on.  That's one image that is etched in my brain, as I'm sure it is for everyone that was watching the coverage.  I think there were around 15 people in the conference room that normally holds probably around 80 people.  They were spread out, sitting there quietly as I was, kinda in shock.  As I sat there locked into the coverage, wondering what this was all about, I watched live as the 2nd plane flew right into the 2nd tower.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  There were a few gasps, I think someone said oh my god and it was just surreal.  I hate it when people use that word for just about any situation, but this was truly a good use of the word.  I felt overwhelmed, in disbelief of what was happening, knowing this was not an accident at that point.  I sat there for at probably 5-10 minutes in shock.

A few more people had started to come in.  I think I went back upstairs to see if the rest of the team was aware that a 2nd plane went into the 2nd tower.  Everyone that knew someone that might be directly affected was still trying to reach people that might know more about their friends/acquaintances/family that may have been in the towers or in the general area.  I think I hung around for about 10 minutes and then went back down to the conference room.

When I came back they had news up of a fire and/or potential explosion or crash at the Pentagon.  Shortly after that I watched as the first tower collapse in a huge plume of smoke/debris.  As soon as I saw that I knew the tower had collapsed.  It took a minute or two for the dust to clear and during that time, the newscasters were not aware it had actually collapsed.  They just assumed it was part of the smoke/fire.  I'm sure they thought there was no way that was possible for the whole building to collapse.  When the dust had settled and the building was completely gone, that's when it really hit me.  I'm pretty sure at that moment I started to tear up, if I hadn't already when I watched the second plane hit live.  This was a tragedy of unimaginable scale in our own country, affecting 1,000s of workers, emergency crew, firefighters, police, etc.  How could this be happening?!

I felt sad thinking of all the people with family/friends/acquaintances, in the building, on the planes, unaccounted for, etc. and was still in a zombie state.  I believe that everyone was eventually allowed to leave early and we all went home and continued to listen to the events on the radio on the way home and were glued to the TV for the reminder of the day.  I recall seeing the people on the ground covered in debris, seeing Mayor Giuliani on TV in shock and utter sadness of what was going on.  And I also remember watching the people evacuating the city by walking out across the bridges.  

It was a day that those of us old enough to remember will never forget.  It was a day that changed our country and the world.  I'd like to think that 10 years later we're more prepared.  It may be that we're more aware of the ever present danger of terrorism and more on alert but unfortunately, those that do not agree with the American way of life and our freedoms will always look for ways to bring more terror to our nation.

Sunday is a remembrance of everyone that needlessly lost their lives as innocent bystanders, going about their daily routines heading into work for the day as well as all of those first responders who didn't give a second thought of risking their lives to save others.  And of course a special thanks to everyone past and present serving to protect our great country every single day!!

I don't think I've watched a recap of the days events since the attacks happened, but I will today.  Just previewing a few different videos brought all of the thoughts back from that day as if it was yesterday.  Here is one recap of many that are out there.  

What is your recollection of the days events?  I would be interested to hear your memories from 10 years ago Sunday. 


Jen said...

I can't believe it was 10 years ago. I was at MCC trying to get to my 9am class when I was heading up the stairs I saw a TV on in one of the main areas and saw the plane that had hit the tower and all the fire and smoke. I stood there for a minute to try to see what was going on as there were so many people gathered. I eventually had to go to my class and wasn't exactly sure what it meant. I finished that first class so about 10am I was out and someone came on the PA system saying its time to evacuate and leave the school. It was utter chaos and panic trying to leave. I think I sat in that parking lot for a good hour or two trying to leave. I can't remember if Michelle was with me, I just know we met at Amber's house and there was major concerns about the kodak buildings and power places being a target. No one knew exactly what was going to happen next. I just remember listening to the radio and watching it on TV and calling Mom who was at work still.

Marla said...

I remember I was home at the time...this was about a week after I was laid off. I had plans to go to the mall with my friend Kelly that day and woke up at about 8 something...turned on the TV and was in disbelief in what was happening. I just sat there watching and I don't want to move away from the TV. I called Kelly (who lived across the hall from me at the time) and asked her if she saw the news and she didn't even know that it had happened! We still went to the mall that day but it was not a fun time. Every store had the coverage on a TV or radio... I just remember being glued to the news coverage for days after that. I even think I called you that day Chris, but don't quite remember everything.....

Mock family said...

same as Jen.... but watching it today was a lot more real then watching it 10 years ago. Guess I'm more mature now and able to really grasp it. Real sad still.

Chris said...

Yeah, since we're around 10 years apart in age, I was your age now when I saw it first and I watched it all day long and it hit pretty hard then and did all weekend during the coverage too.

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