It was Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, when I left my home around 7:30 and began walking to work. As I did occasionally, I phoned my Aunt Ginny to converse with her for a bit, ending my call as I walked up to my office building. I proceeded to my desk, when I heard Paul say, "A small plane just hit one of the skyscrapers in New York City!" I went into his office to listen to his radio to learn some more, then went to my office, turned on my computer, and went straight to CNN.com. The reports were a little sketchy, but in moments, I learned a second plane had hit Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. From that moment on - there was very little work done by me or anyone in our office.
Heidi was living in Baton Rouge, LA, at the time, working as an air traffic controller. I called her home to tell her about the attack, and got her voice mail. I knew she was wasn't working at that time, so I called her again - asking her to pick up the phone. Groggily she answered, "What's the matter?" I told her to turn on her TV - any channel. Her day changed from that moment, too. (Hopefully she'll blog about it this weekend.)
Next I phoned Hans, who was stationed in the twin cities at the time. He hadn't left for work yet. We talked as he watched his TV and I watched CNN online. We were in disbelief. Suddenly he announced, "Oh, my God! They've hit the Pentagon! I've got to get to work, Mom. Bye."
That noon I walked home for lunch. It was an eerie feeling to see no planes in the sky — except for a couple of F16s — crisscrossing from east of St. Paul to west of Minneapolis. They had flown down from an air force base in Duluth.
The rest of that day was spent either glued to my computer screen, or to a TV. Life, as we knew it, would never be the same. May we never experience this again!
This weekend much attention is being given to this horrific tragedy. I watched the ceremony of the memorial for Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. One of those heroes, Tom Burnett, Jr., was from my city. He graduated from the same high school as Heidi. Today my post office is named for him.
In summer 2004, I was privileged to stand at ground zero. It was an emotional feeling. Next month I will return.