Where was I on 9/11?
This is a question that has been asked a LOT over the past week. Well, I decided to take today to answer it.
The short answer is the same as a lot of people. I was at work.
At the time, I was working at my newly hired job as a customer service rep, taking calls that morning. I remember finishing a call and noting that some of my co-workers were agitated. I asked what was going on, and the reply I got was this:
“A plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York.”
I remember thinking it must have been some guy with a private plane that was drunk or something and few off the lanes. I figured he did more damage to his plane than the building.
Then, someone said that a second plane hit the building. That was when I knew something was up. I started looking up news on the Internet, and found out it was jumbo jets. Two jumbo jets had just slammed into the World Trade Center. The towers were falling. People were dying. And it was happening live, not in some bad “destroy the city” movie.
We continued taking calls, of course, placing orders, but as time went on that morning, fewer and fewer calls came in. Eventually, someone pulled out a large TV from storage and hooked it up in the break room. There were reports of a third plane, heading for Washington, aiming right at the Pentagon. It was a nightmare.
My memory gets a little blurry here. I remember calling my parents, and listening to my dad yell something to the effect of “It’s the Arabs. I knew it was as soon as I first heard it.”
I remember people in my office getting sick and crying.
I remember trying to take phone calls from customers that had no idea what was happening.
I also remember the next few hours afterwards. Plans were down. No more flights around the country, which meant that lots of our products were not going to be delivered on time. It may seem strange, but at the time I can remember looking at the TV, watching the towers burn, listening to the reporter say that all flights are grounded, and thinking “I just know we’re going to get some call from someone that’s pissed off we couldn’t get his order delivered on time.”
The company offered to let people go home if they had family in New York, but they also kept the doors open and the phones operating. I had a sister in New York, but she and her husband were safe. So, I stayed through my shift, working as best as I could. It was all I could do. I couldn’t think of anything else.
I don’t remember much after that. I was terrified, to be sure. People had died, lots of them. Our country had come under attack. The next step was to retaliate. We were going to war. And this frightened more than anything. Not that I thought we had any other choice, I just don’t like the idea of men and women going to a foreign country and dying.
The next day, I went back to work and indeed took a few calls from those people that were pissed off that his mother didn’t get his order in New York, and her birthday was ruined. Right, because not getting the flowers you ordered on the day that thousands of people died is the reason your mom’s birthday was ruined. I had a hard time being friendly to those people.
But I also had calls that made up for it. There was a guy that wanted to cancel his order, but was willing to still pay for it, because he knew it wasn’t our fault. There were people that wanted to send flowers to Ground Zero, to be placed on the site in memorial. There was even a woman that wanted flowers sent to the New York City Fire Department.
Those people just made my day.
And so, that’s the answer to where I was on 9/11. That’s my story.
I don’t think it’s that unique, or even that special, but it’s the only one I have. It's what I can think of to do to remember today. Posting this story here.
I, for one, will never forget that day.