Even though it happened six years ago, we all remember what we were doing at 8:50 that morning. Up until 9/11/2001 I always looked forward to this day....
At the time I was living in Gallway NY and working for Reserve America at the National Recreation & Reservation Services call center. The call center handled calls for camping reservations for all parks in the United States run by the Army Corps of Engineers, CA, FL, MA, NY, CT State Parks and the Boundary Waters along with taking hotel reservations for Iloveny.com. The call center was located in a small village in Upstate NY, about 2 1/2 hours north of New York City. I worked 10-2, pretty smooth hours huh?
This particular morning, I was ready for work, watching Good Morning America wrap up its morning broadcast, when either Charles Gibson or Diane Sawyer mention a small plane had flown into or hit one of the World Trade Center buildings and they went to a live shot. I stood up and walked to the TV with phone in hand..
I called my Mom and Step Dad in Phoenix and woke them up;
"Turn on your TV" I urgently told my Mom
"What channel?" Mom asked
"Doesn't matter, I've got ABC on" I told her
No sooner then she turned on her set across the country then the 2nd plane hit.
I fell to my knees and uttered two words....
I just stared at the screen of my TV, Mom said, "I bet you're right".
We knew our country was under attack.
I stuck a blank tape in the VCR and I went to work in a daze, I didn't want to be there. I got to my station in the back of the room and waited for my first call.
Someone called out "The Pentagon's been hit!" and my heart sank even further then it already had. One of our callers was watching TV and was giving her reservation taker the information.
Then, one of the guys running the "que" behind me said "My wife just said one of the towers fell over"
I turned around looking at him in disbelief and said "What?!"
"One of the towers is gone, it fell over." he repeated
I sat there trying to comprehend what he just told me. It just didn't seem possible.
The next call came in a little while later saying the 2nd tower had fallen.
Since we had over 400 phone lines coming into our call center, our powers that be closed the center to free up the phone lines for the city of New York.
I loaded my girlfriend and two coworkers in my car to go home. My girlfriend had made me a cake, we picked that up, took the two other gals home and went to my home in the country.
I lived near some type of nuclear testing facility and there were police everywhere in the area. I got nervous when I saw that. How many more of these planes were in the air?
At some point word came in that a plane went down in Pennsylvania, was that plane supposed to attack something too?
We got to my house and turned Peter Jennings on and just stared in disbelief at the TV.
The World Trade Center buildings were gone, thick columns of black smoke pouring from where they once stood.
The Pentagon had a large gaping smoke filled hole in it.
A smoking debris scattered field in PA, was this related? It seemed to be, judging by the erratic flight path, according to Peter Jennings. All flights had been ordered out of the sky.
I won't go through the rest of the day, you all know what happened.
I ended up home the rest of the week due to an unrelated medical problem. I lay on the couch watching TV and crying for 5 days. I knew no one in the Towers, the Pentagon or on any of the planes, but I had friends who had friends that worked in the Trade Center, other people had people in the 4 separate attacks, I shed tears for all of them.
Stories of heroism started to emerge from each crash location. Every day people fighting to save the lives of others. People on board a plane fought to take it back, people assisting those they didn't know to safety down 80 flights of stairs. So many stories. So many lives. No, I never knew any of you, but I mourn your loss every single day.
To Be Continued...