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.
My travel time to work that morning was an hour. During my drive, I called my friends and family. Some people had theories, some people cried and some people went about their business without acknowledging the severity of what had happened. My Dad said, “It was only a matter of time.” Matter of time? Why? I look back now at my reaction, and I was in shock.
I got home that night and turned on the TV immediately. Flipping through the channels, there was either coverage of the attacks or in a lot of cases, there was no programming and just the words, “Due to the situation in New York City , Virginia and Pennsylvania we have suspended all programming.” Again, I just sat there in shock looking at images that were beyond my comprehension. I couldn’t sleep at all that night.
It took a full four days for the emotion to come out. It was that Friday, and I was in town for Route 66. This was the night (late afternoon our time) that we were asked to light candles; the Candlelight Vigil where Americans were asked to stop whatever they were doing and light a candle to stand united as a country. When all went silent and the flicker of candles was abundant, I truly lost it and cried uncontrollably. You see, the shock I had been in turned to the reality of the worst thing I could ever imagine happening to innocent people.
A year later I was visiting friends in England. The world was asked to observe a minute of silence at the exact time the first plane hit. I was in a tiny little village where just beforehand everyone was busy with their daily lives. At the moment of silence everything stopped. Cars pulled over, people sat down on the ground and store keepers stepped out of their shops. I was blown away by the participation in another country.
I don’t believe that you or I will ever feel what we felt on that day of 9/11/01. But ten years later, it’s a whole new horror as we now have felt the full effect of what happened. No matter the time of the day, I hope you will be still for a moment every September 11th and honor those who lost their lives and the families that were shattered by that and the men and women who were the heroes and dove in to help on that day and the days, weeks, months and years after September 11th, 2001.