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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Nine Eleven


I woke up, showered and dressed for work. Got in my car and lit a cigarette, plugged in my stereo face and didn't hear music. Just talk, I thought I was on the wrong station so I changed it and it was the same. This time I listened and heard them say, "Airplane flew into the World Trade Center". I continued to listen and immediately thought this was a joke like that radio broadcast in the 50's. I turned the station a few times and it was all over the place. I grabbed my cell phone and called my mom. "What's going on?" I asked her, "Is this a joke?" As she explained to me what she was seeing on TV, that feeling of...I don't know how to describe it, I'm fairly sure everyone was feeling it when they heard the news. I honestly thought this was the end of the world, that it was actually happening in my lifetime and I wasn't ready for it. My thoughts immediately changed to my brother Jason who was flying out of New York. "Where's Jason! Is he OK?" At that time my mom had not heard from my him, but was trying to assure me he was fine they didn't think he was on that flight. My heart sank and tears began to well up just as they are now. My mom and I talked about our visit to the Twin Trade Towers years ago and from the 107th floor looking down everyone looked like ants. The glass was tilted out so you can lean up against it and see straight down. Not really thinking clearly I continued to drive to work. I was like a zombie walking into the building and going up the elevator and down the hall to my desk. I logged in, sat down and it started to really sink in. As the tears started welling up again, I got up and went to the bathroom. As I walked into the corridor I notice a few people watching the news on TV, that was my first sight of what was really going on. Then the second plane hit, I stood there in complete shock, jaw on the floor, eyes bulging. It hit me that Jory was home sleeping and didn't want him to find out when he got to work so I grabbed my phone. When he answered I apologized for waking him but it was really important for him to turn the TV on. Of course he was confused and half asleep so I knew it would take him a minute to wake up and turn the TV on. I tried to talk to him a bit and slowly explain what was happening before he actually saw it for himself. I think I started with, "I don't want you to walk into work and not know what's happened." Then it all just came out. I don't think he understood what I was talking about until he had the TV on and saw it for himself. He didn't say much but thanks for letting him know.
I went back to my desk and just sort of sat there, thinking, worrying. After a bit I realized I hadn't taken a call for over 30 minutes, this was unbelievable for Discover Card. We never went a minute without calls in Que. Then it hit me, people aren't calling in, they weren't going to call in because everyone is home watching the news or trying to get in contact with their friends and family. No one is concerned about their stupid credit card bill. The messages starting coming from management that Morgan Stanley had offices in the World Trade Center and so far 3,500 were unaccounted for. Anyone with family living in New York was allowed to go home. But those of us with family visiting NY, flying or otherwise had to stay. It hit me that I should not be at work, I should be home or in Logan waiting for news on Jason. I went and talked to our Department manager and told him this was ridiculous, it's been 4 hours and I've only taken 3 calls. He promised we could go home if we didn't get a call in the next hour. Literally 58 minutes later I got a call. When I was done I went and talked to him again and said I was leaving, there is no reason I should be there. Hundreds of employees called out that morning and I actually had a family member missing. He agreed and sent our shift home.
I spent the next week hours glued to the TV. Going back to work wasn't just weird because this major event just happened but our building is the direct flight path to the SLC International Airport and when we would go out for a smoke or lunch and the planes flying over were so loud it was hard to keep on a conversation. But now there were no planes, they had been grounded. The silence was erie. The attack would have dominated the conversations out there, had it not been for the spooky silence. A week or so later when that first plane flew over you could have heard our heart beats. Everyone stopped talking and watched with fear as it flew so very close right for us, then over head. It took a few more planes for us to stop holding our breath while watching so closely.
There is no chance of ever forgetting that day and those that followed. Our lives were changed forever. I feel for those who lost a loved one in the attack, no one wants to imagine what they went through. My brother was fine, he finally got cellular service and called home.


Thanks to the photographer for the picture.

6 comments:

Jory said...

I guess you really do have a good memory. Thanks again for letting me know what was going on. I know I can always count on you to keep me informed.

Joey Girl said...

I do have a good memory when it comes to some things, other things I blame on my mother's genes.

Regina said...

I remember I was working the late shift in Priority Club and Robby and I were at home that morning before work. Janice called, I'm sure waking us up and like your story tried to explain what happened. I remember thinking this was too crazy to make up, but too crazy to be real. We called Robby's mom and we were all so very upset.

Yesterday in my neighborhood the boy scouts put out the big American flags in the parkstrips. As I walked to the grocery store with the boys, I felt overwhelmed with emotion from that day. I think the slow pace of walking by instead of driving by really gave it time to sink as I remembered that day that changed what seems like everything.

Joey's Mom said...

What's that about my genes?

Joey Girl said...

Mom, if you don't "remember", that's a perfect example.

Mr. E Mann said...

Hahaha, nice "burn" Joey.

I have to say that even my thick skin was penetrated that day. I immediatey called Athena (even though we weren't even "dating" really yet). My little brother had called me and woke me up after I'd only been asleep about an hour or two (on a friend's couch after a heavy night's party). I thought I was still dreaming, then I thought he was joking until I got the t.v. going.
I also thought I was having a flashback when I first answered half-asleep and still faded from the previous night.
Ok, I have to tune off this subject or I'll start to rant.

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