To most of Spaceship Earth, 9/11, flutters pass on their calendars as any other day, but 21 years ago …
The world changed on 9/11/01. And it’s a day I’ll #NeverForget either.
I was startled awake by my wife (yes, I was married once) She said to turn on the TV because a plane accidentally crashed into a building.
“What the $&#%* ?” I thought. “Planes just don’t accidentally hit buildings.” In a fog of sleep, I turn on my TV at the most inopportune moment… The 2nd plane was flown into one of the towers! I couldn’t believe what I just saw. It was a sick joke. A gut-wrenching sorrow overcame me as I fell to my knees. All I wanted at the moment was to be there, wherever it was, to help.
I got up, and decided to get ready for work. That looked like New York City, and commercial planes which meant Metropolitan Travel will need my help assisting from our Seattle office in terms of getting people in and out of the area.
As I strutted back into the bedroom, my wife asked what was going on as she said the radio said this is deliberate and we’re being attacked.
My sorrow instantly turned into anger. Now I’m pissed. In the shower, I cried. I promised myself and mom I wouldn’t cry after mom’s death but this was too much. The ride on the 311 bus was somber, and quiet. Metropolitan Travel had several TVs plugged in broadcasting the news reports.
Shortly after my arrival to Metropolitan Travel, a corporate travel only travel agency, all planes were grounded. The direction we were given were to get rental cars, train tickets, and hotel rooms set up for our clients that were aboard. We were to work with them to get them home, while they ran passenger manifests to find out if any of our clients were on the planes; all four of them.
While at work, as I was consoling coworkers and clients alike, the World Trade Centers Towers fell down within minutes of each other. It was a delight for the architects of destruction and evil, but devastating to the rest of us. Those citadels of steel were pillars of strength. However the structural integrity was compromised by the impact damage of a fully fueled jetliner slamming into it, and burning jet fuel.
Those images burned itself into my memory, as quickly and as hotly, as that jet fuel. In the wreckage and destruction, three firefighters raised an American flag that was captured by two photographers. It was so iconic that it still resonates with people to this day. Or shall I say, at least with me.
Reminded me instantly of the Iwo Jima flag raising. The imagery was so striking. And then, I thought, that it was symbolic as well. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes to be born anew, I knew that “We, the People”, would do the same.
For years to follow, I would honor 9/11 in my own way, and differently each year, while processing my feelings that I had that day. Another opportunity to never forget what happened. Not that I could, if I tried.
In 2015, I was in New York briefly with my girlfriend at the time. My only request to visit was the 9/11 Memorial, which she was happy to accommodate. The first couple of steps I experienced a deluge of emotion. My mind, body and soul were trying to process all my feelings at once. I’m surprised and kinda proud I was able to make through the entire experience without breaking down.
So Seattle, what was your experience on 9/11/01? There are those on this planet that were unborn therefore didn’t live through this experience, and must read about it in history books or online. Sobering thought, huh?
I hope for those that were alive that day, please never forget those that never saw another day on Spaceship Earth.