I am sure most of us will always remember where we were that on September 11, 2001.
I first want to remember all who lost their lives, victims and responders, not only as a result of the immediate act but also in the aftermath and after effects.
I was working in Chicago at the U.S. Attorney's office as an administrator. I was scheduled to drive to our South Bend, Indiana office to train their staff on their reporting compliance.
At that time I lived in a Southern Suburb of Chicago; Dolton, Illinois which is very close to the Indiana boarder. It was a pleasant fall day, crisp and sunny, perfect for driving. I woke up early and got on the road. The trip was without incident, I thought.
As you enter most federal building, especial those that have court rooms, there are security people and scanners, usually maintained by the Marshal's service.
As I prepared to go through secruity, showing my credentials, emptying my pockets and laying my briefcase on the belt, one of the Marshals said, " A plane flew into one of the twin towers in New York".
My first reaction was that he had a very strange sense of humor. I said, "You're kidding right?" His reply, "No not at all".
I went up into the building, the receptionist directed me to the conference room where the training was to take place but all of the attorneys and the administrative staff were glued to the television watching the news. Shortly thereafter the second tower was hit. We watched in horror. An attorney speculated that it was the work of a muslin leader from Chicago. I could not quite remember the whole name but I offered, Osama.
I called my office in Chicago, my boss told me not to come back there as they suspected the (then) Sears Tower was also a target, it was only a few blocks from our office and our office was being closed. He directed me to go home.
As I left the office, I was stunned, I still could not even begin to imagine the devastation this would cause, but I overwhelmingly knew the impact would be everlasting. I went to a nearby restaurant to get something to eat and gather myself before getting on the highway again. Everything in the restaurant was eerily normal. I asked the waitress if she knew what had happened, she said she did and calmly took my order. I asked people who were seated close to me if they knew, they did. I watched as people walked up and down the street outside of the restaurant, seemingly undisturbed, going on with their daily lives.
As I got on the expressway heading back home, I stopped to get gas. The attendant asked if I had cash as all credit card and debit card machines were down, of course the financial district had just been attacked. As I got back on the road I noticed several stealth fighters in the sky. I had only seen pictures of them before, but I recognized them immediately.
Given where we were, life could proceed, not undisturbed, but assured our country's response would be first to those most immediately injured, then to prevent any further damage and then directed to those who perpetrated such an unspeakable act.
We shall always remember those who passed as a result of September 11, 2001.