Follow by Email

Google+ Followers

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th, 2011

Remember!  Remember 9/11, 2001!  That's what the media are all saying today.

You know what?  I hadn't forgotten.

9/11/2001 came early for me.  I was in San Diego attending a conference, although at the time I was living in Nashua, NH.  I got up around 6:30 am, after a largely sleepless night.  I though nothing of that, it's quite common for me sleep poorly away from home.  After showering and dressing, I left my hotel room overlooking the Dan Diego harbor, and called an elevator.  It was slightly before 7am, Pacific time.

I entered an elevator containing a somewhat bewildered woman, who asked me did I know that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center?  I didn't, and assuming it was probably a light plane doing little damage, I really didn't think any more about it until I reached the hotel dining room and took a table, waiting for another 2 people to join me - it was a business breakfast.

In the restaurant, all the TV's were on with the sound turned up, and everyone was watching, which is unusual.  I finally saw what was going on - replays of the 2nd airplane hitting the South Tower, and as I watched, it collapsed, live and on TV.  I heard about several other airplanes in the air, believed to have been hijacked (something I know a fair amount about!), and after my guests arrived, we watched the North Tower collapse as well.  I don't remember if we talked business or not.

I went back to my room, and turned on CNN, watching as the story came together - 4 airplane's destroyed, 1 in a crash and 3 crashed deliberately into buildings.  That there was another one (erroneously) thought to be in the control of the terrorists.  I looked out of the 35th floor window at the harbor and thought about how vulnerable these high-rise buildings are.  Around mid-morning I heard that the conference was canceled for that day, and soon afterwords, my TV started making a strange sound every 2 seconds or so.  After puzzling about it, I happened to look out of the window again, and just below me in the harbor was a guided missile destroyer, with its search radar turning (once every 2 seconds or so), and its anti-aircraft missiles on the launchers and ready to fire.

Strangely, I was originally intending to go from Boston to Los Angeles on the morning of September 11th.  I don't know if I was booked on American Flight 11, I do know that I looked at the departure time and worked out that with Route 3 under construction, I would have to leave at some awfully early time, and changed my plans to depart the night before, get better sleep and fit in my breakfast meeting.  I also decided to skip LA and go straight to San Diego.  It might have saved my life.

I know no-one who died, although a man from my church in Nashua was on one of the BOS-LAX flights that ended at Ground Zero, and a woman who worked for me was on a flight out to join me in CA that morning.  Her flight was recalled before taking off, but that was a close call.  For both of us.

With all the airlines grounded, I had no way to get home.  Some of my colleagues rented a car, and drove for 5 days right across the country.  They arrived the same day I did.  I rented a car, and drove to Phoenix Az, where my wife's sister lives, and stayed with them for a couple of days until I could get a flight to BOS via DFW.  The flight itself was bit tense - almost empty, but every time somebody got up to go the restroom, the whole plane would watch them, especially if they looked even slightly Mediterranean........

My car was where I had left it, which was a pleasant surprise.  I had heard that the airport had towed thousands of cars parked closer that a certain distance from a terminal.  My inability to find a good parking space saved my car from that ignominy. I arrived home Sunday evening.

I'm all for remembering.  I just don't want to be reminded to remember every second of today, the 10th anniversary.  I have never forgotten.  I also remember the Holocaust (although I wasn't alive then) and the Alamo (I live in Texas).  The only reason 10 years is anything different from 9 or 11 is that we all (mostly) have 10 fingers and count in base 10.  In Base 2, that is 1010.  In Base 4, it is 22.  The numbers *don't matter*.

I have not forgotten why we are fighting in Afghanistan, and despite being a political Liberal, I applaud what our forces are doing there, and I was very satisfied when the SEALS killed Bin Laden.  Iraq - well that was all about the Bush family using the US Armed Forces to settle a personal grudge against Saddam.  Close to 300,000 people died as a result, not just the 3,000 on 9/11, let's remember that too.

I haven't forgotten.

1 comment:

Karlene Petitt said...

This is a great memory... and I too will never forget. Thanks!