Most of my life, for the past 18 years, has revolved around my son. He’s 18 now, but on September 11, 2001 he was 8. Â I was the stay-at-home dad. Get the kid ready in the morning, get him to school, and pick him up after school. Like most parents, I wondered what his future would be like, what the world of my adult son would be like. Well, he’s an adult now and I never could have imagined how the world he would grow up in would change that morning.
I never watch TV in the morning, but that day was different. I’m not sure why I turned on the news that day and, after reading some other 9/11 posts, it seems that is a common thread. People that normally would not be watching news in the morning turned on the TV _that_ morning. By the end of the morning, the entire country seemed to be watching – connected by tragedy, anger, fear and loss. As the news channels did 10 years ago, today they are playing those scenes that I can see in mind, even when the TV is off. The sense of loss is just as great today. The feeling I had 10 years ago, as I watched the towers fall, is almost paralyzing.
In the days, weeks, and years that followed we were also inspired. Inspired by the heroic acts of the first responders, and the bravery of those that risked their lives to save others. That is the world I see my son growing up in now. A country that was forever changed, but united. I’d like to take a moment to thank the firefighters, law enforcement personnel, military, and civilians that help to make this country safe for future generations.
Below is an infographic summary of the tragedy of 9/11 and the past 10 years…
My day started like any other, but by the time it was over, the world (and I) had changed forever.
Before it was over, I found out that a young man who lived in my apartment was a passenger on one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center that day. Although I didn’t know him personally, it really brought home to me the reality of what happened.
My neighbors and I took part in a candlelight vigil for him and everyone else that was lost that day. It was one of the most powerful things I ever witnessed.
I was Mr. Mom in the morning. My wife heads out to work way to early, so I was always the one getting the kids off to school. They were 11 and 10 years old at the time, and we’d gotten the routine down pretty well over the years. We didn’t usually turn on the television in the morning unless there was a good reason to, or unless someone was ready to go and was just waiting around for the others. The morning of September 11, 2001, I was ready to go.
To give a little background, I moved to New York from Southern California when my father transferred to a new job there in 1968; I was 4 years old. I became a Yankee fan at my first visit to the Stadium, plus my older brother was a Mets fan, so there was no way I was going to be one too. We lived out on Long Island, but visited the city often enough to watch the World Trade Center towers grow from their very beginnings. The occasional trip to the top of the Empire State Building was always an amazing thing, and looking over at what were going to become the new “tallest buildings in the world” as they went up was source of fascination for a kid.
We moved back to SoCal in 1973, not long after they were completed.
I was working at another radio station in a different city on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was getting ready for work when a call came from the morning show: “have you seen what’s happening, turn on the TV.”
By that time ,the second plane had hit so both towers were on fire. I hung up the phone and shouted out to no one, “What’s wrong with people?!?”
The TV announcers were by now speculating – terrorists. Man, that’s a word I had heard but had no idea of its reality.
Want to take a trip way behind the scenes of 96-7 KCAL Rocks? Strap in. I can take you there.
Picture this: you have about the coolest job on the planet. You’re the dude responsible for everything that happens on the air here. Yep, there are â€œresponsibleâ€ people that work here â€“ we’re just not that responsible. (Or have you never checked out Boob Camp?)
The incredibly talented and funny morning show you’re lucky enough to work with is about to do one of the best, coolest things they’ve ever done. Everything’s ready to go…and then, all hell breaks loose.
Stu, Jimbo and I hadnâ€™t been on the air long the morning we heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We first assumed that it was probably a small Cessna or something, and I remember being thankful that it was early enough that there probably werenâ€™t many people working in the building.
That seems pretty naive in hindsight, and really dumb considering the time difference on the East Coast, which I hadnâ€™t considered. About ten minutes later, we heard about the second plane, and thatâ€™s when we knew it was a terrorist attack. Then we found out the planes were commercial ones, and it was, â€œHoly S#@%, the planes were full of PEOPLE?!?â€
Thatâ€™s when the day changed: We brought in our ancient tv with its rabbit ears, and started monitoring every news source we had. The show we had planned, with the usual joking around, picking on each other and having fun, was obviously forgotten completely.
My wife Lovey is a professional flight attendant for American Airlines. She returned home from a four- or five-day trip at about 9 or 10pm on the night of September 10th, 2001. The last two legs on her trip were Boston to New York to Los Angeles.
Like most everybody, September 11th started like any other day. Me, Tiff & Jimbo were all at work, laughing, joking, music, news, traffic, weather etc. I’ve covered a lot of disasters while on the air in my 36 years at KCAL, but when we got the news from Bruno that an airliner had crashed into one of the Twin Towers, I knew we were in for quite a ride. As the events developed and the disaster unfolded, we did our best to cover it all with the help of Bruno and especially Tiffany.
After the show, many thoughts raced through my head as I sped home. I kept thinking to myself, “Boston…New York…L.A…could it be that my wife had missed the worst disaster any of us had ever imagined by a mere 24 hours? Could it be that she was on the same flight that hit Tower #1 the day before it happened?”
Funny thing about working here at 96-7 KCAL Rocks – we really are a family. That means that we’re kinda like the Hotel California – you can check out, but you can never leave.
If you’ve been hanging with us for a while, you remember M.J. Matthews. He was on the air from 9am to 2pm here for 15 years. He left in 2004 after getting married and having two ridiculously adorable daughters, who he wanted to raise in a small town in Oregon. He never left the KCAL family, however.
Because M.J. was right in the middle of things here on 9/11, we asked him to send us his thoughts about that day. Here’s what he wrote: