Sunday, September 11th, 2016
Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Sunday, September 11th, 2011
Years ago, at family get-togethers, I used to hear my grandparent’s ask, “What were you doing when Kennedy was shot?”
I was born long after the event, so these questions and answers felt more like a parlor game than shared remembrances — or shared horrors.
Everyone had a different story, each unique, and each remembered with such exacting detail that you could almost imagine yourself there as the tale was told.
I never dreamed I’d have my own such question to ask.
What were you doing on 9/11?
I was working in a federal building just outside of Washington, D.C. I was de facto Webmaster for a USDA agency, and working on a Web site. I’d just finished a particularly taxing page and popped over to Yahoo for a news break.
Yahoo was reporting that an airplane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings. It was a one-line story, breaking news, and they had no further details. No photo accompanied the story.
I had the foresight to hit “print” and capture the page. I still have it. It reads:
I’m glad I printed the story, because I was unable to visit my other go-to news sites for more information. The Internet was tied up. In a ‘denial of service’ caused by people wanting more information, servers became quickly overloaded.
I tried phoning the Husband of Awesome™, but phone systems and cell towers in the D.C. area were also tied up.
We had a small black-and-white TV in the break room, which got poor reception on good days, but I remember watching President Bush, interrupted while reading to a group of second-graders, stop and make a statement.
After the second plane strike, and the hit on the Pentagon, fear began to percolate in our building. We were the tallest Federal Building for miles around. Could we be the next target?
Federal employees were eventually told to evacuate their buildings and go home. Those inside the beltway had trouble getting out. Streets were packed, people apparently walked for miles to get home. Just outside the Beltway, the roads were like a ghost town. I remember getting onto the highway and being amazed that mine was the only car there.
After a while, a few more cars came onto the road, but the eerie feeling didn’t leave, even with their presence.
I got home, turned on the TV, and sat glued there for the rest of the day. Images of the planes hitting the towers were replayed over and over again. It’s changed the way I see airplanes.
To this day, I can’t look at a plane in the sky and not remember 9/11.
What were you doing on 9/11?
Friday, September 11th, 2009
It’s raining today.
Heavy, wind-blown curtains of rain snarl traffic, run ankle deep in the parking lot, and deliver a good soaking no matter how large an umbrella one carries.
Despite the cliche, I can’t help thinking the sky weeps for the atrocities carried out on 9/11/2001. The inauspicious weather mirrors my mood. It serves as a potent reminder.
Today I remember.
I remember those who died, and those who died fighting — saving and attempting to save those lives.
I honor those who continue to fight, and thank you for all that you do.