Stu, Jimbo and I hadn’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 weren’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 hadn’t considered.   About ten minutes later, we heard about the second plane, and that’s when we knew it was a terrorist attack.  Then we found out the planes were commercial ones, and it was, “Holy S#@%, the planes were full of PEOPLE?!?”

That’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.

What we became was really kinda weird.  On one hand, we were a handful of friends, staring at each other with “This is SO not happening” looks on our faces.  But we were also suddenly the three anchors of a news station, and we felt a really strong obligation to let everybody know as much as we could as fast as possible.

The mental image in my head that day was of a truck driver, with no access to TV news, or a computer or anything.  He’s all alone, listening to us, and if we don’t keep him posted on what is going on with his country, then we’re letting him down.

One of the worst moments that morning was announcing that a plane had hit the Pentagon, because at that point things weren’t contained to New York City or the World Trade Center…It could be anywhere.

Then we found out flight 93 went down in Pennsylvania, and it felt like the disaster was everywhere, and nobody knew when it would end.  Would terrible things happen for hours, or was it days or weeks?  For awhile there were so many rumors of a fifth hijacked plane that we were simply waiting for news of where it would crash.

I will never, ever forget the way I felt, watching the first tower fall in real time.  A lady that works at KCAL, and is kind of like the station mom, was watching with us, and she and I silently put an arm around each other.

I was glad she was there, because I needed a “mom” at the moment. I suddenly felt like a little kid in a world that didn’t make sense. Where planes full of nice people with families crash into buildings full of other nice people just trying to do their jobs.  Where big strong skyscrapers come down in slow motion before your eyes.

That’s one of the reasons I stayed on the air for 10 hours that day. That, and my imaginary trucker who (in my head) needed me to tell him what was going on.  It took me awhile to want to leave the building and go back out into this new world that didn’t feel safe anymore.  Would buildings blow up? Would planes fall out of the sky? Would ships sink?

It took a long time for that feeling to wear off.

Four months later I was married, and dozens of members of my closeknit family flew out for the wedding.  Their plane didn’t fall out of the sky.  Several weeks after that, my husband and I  honeymooned with Stu and Jimbo and their ladies on a Carribean Cruise, and the ship didn’t sink. And today I went to work in a building full of nice people and tried to come up with funny stuff to tell that trucker.

And like a lot of people, because of 9/11, I don’t take ANY of those things for granted.



September 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm | 9/11, KCAL Crew, KCAL Rocks | No comment