I started this morning watching CNN and the memorials of 911. It transported me back to that day; where I was, what I was doing, my initial observations and feelings.
I started very early, heading from Chicago to South Bend Indiana. I was the mid-Western administrator for the U.S. Attorney’s office, the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Division, on my way to do training for attorneys and staff. Oblivious, I enjoyed the drive it was a sunny, crisp, fall morning. I was focused on the road and thoughts of my presentation.
As I arrived at the federal building, the Marshals were the first to inform me the World Trade Center had been struck by a airplane. I was incredulous. When I arrived at the reception area, it became apparent; I would not be doing any training. They admitted me to the office and allowed me to watch the news reports of the plane crashing into the building. Then the broadcast of the second plane hitting came. I slowly absorbed the atrocity. I listens to the attorney’s speculate as to who might have done this. One said he thought it was Farrakhan. I expressed my opinion he did not have the capacity to orchestrate such a strike. My suspicions immediately went to Osama bin Laden (I was familiar with him through work). As I offered the name during the conversation, one attorney was dismissive (too far away), others conceded the possibility.
I called my boss in Chicago, a department head, normally calm, cool and collected. He was audibly and understandably upset. He instructing me not to return to the office, the Sears Towers was a potential target, I was to go home. Our offices was only blocks from the Sears Tower and not safe.
I left the Federal building, needing to collect myself. I stopped at a pancake house; life seemed to be “business as usual” around me. It seemed so strange; I wondered if these people had not heard. I started with the waitress.
“Yes” she knew. “Wasn’t it terrible, did I want coffee or tea?” I understood, like me, overwhelmed!
I believe it was here I learned all credit card processing was down. Of course, the financial district in New York had just been blown up. My understanding of the magnitude continued to grow.
Heading up the express way, I saw huge bat like planes cross and follow the expressway several times. Having only seen pictures, I still immediately recognized the stealth bombers. My God, is there going to be war right here in the heartland? I knew life, for everyone, was forever changed.
Keep your loved ones close and cherish them. I appreciate those who put their lives on the line for all of us everyday. Thank you one and all, military, fire fighters, police, prosecutors, investigative agents, and administrators within these agencies.