Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering September 11

A beautiful day in September was a day that changed the world.

It was a gorgeous day in September. A remarkably beautiful day, that whispered only a hint of fall in the air, for it was cool, clear, dry and beautiful.

On the way to the university campus where I worked, the radio was on in the car, and my husband and I were chatting about the traffic. While we were talking, the local public radio the usual Morning Edition in the background, or so I thought. But something caught my attention, from the news report---this was a special live-on-the-street broadcast, for something was happening! I hear references to dozens of emergency vehicles being called so I listened more closely. I remember that I finally interrupted my husband's talking and said "Shhh, listen---something is happening!"  We caught pieces of the story. Some kind of aircraft had hit the World Trade Center in New York.

It still had not registered what was going on. My husband dropped me off on campus at the university's  technology center where I had to attend a special meeting that morning. I entered the lobby and the saw that the receptionist had turned on one of the televisions in the lobby. The story was still unfolding but the word was that a passenger plane had hit the World Trade Center. The perception was still that it was an accident.

I wanted to watch what was unfolding, but I reluctantly entered the meeting upstairs that had already begun. Upon entering the room, I asked if several people if they were aware of what was taking place in New York. A few people looked up, and I mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center, but there was not much concern from the meeting moderators who had called the meeting. The gravity of what had happened was not yet known. And they had to discuss the topic at hand---branding and marketing!!!

So I sat through that meeting which was basically one that was one of of those dull useless committee meetings  focusing on university public relations and branding and marketing. The moderators continued to babble while the world was coming to a halt watching the happenings in New York! (I also recall being more than annoyed at the somewhat dismissal of the news that I had tried to describe.) And yes, horrors unfolded while we were idling away discussing "branding". The chatter of the meeting eventually died, and a long wasted hour later, we finally disbanded and descended into the lobby to learn the horrors of the day. Both towers in New York had fallen, and by the time we arrived back at our office on the main campus, the Pentagon had been hit, and another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania.

As we left the south campus I took note of the sky again. It was still a beautiful day with few clouds but this time I noticed--there was strangely no air craft. Now the university where I worked is not far from Marshall Baltimore Washington International Airport, and the campus is on the fly way- the usual route to the runway at BWI.  But now mid morning on that quiet September day, there were no planes, in the air. In fact, no aircraft would fly in the area for the next 4 days.

The day unfolded with phone calls to people we knew in New York, and like countless thousands, the calls would not go through.

I don't recall working that day. I left early, as I felt that being on campus was not fruitful, and I also felt strangely unsafe. We all did. The whole nation did.

On the way home, I noticed also the silence. No horns blowing, few people were talking, and even the birds and insects were somehow quiet.

The world changed on that day.

Like the rest of the country, I watched the news continually, showing the towers falling and I saw the devastation knowing the world would be forever impacted by what happened. I still find the memories of that day to be painful.

I would learn eventually the fate of our friends who survived, but learn of their other friends who did not. The degrees of separation were so close!

We all changed on that day. And we must all pause to remember the lives that were lost, and to try to understand the impact of something so unspeakable and how it changed all of us.

In Memory

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