I retired from radio on July 31st after 31 years. I took my kids to Boston and Fenway Park and to my hometown of Laconia, NH. Upon arriving back home in Austin I was promptly diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. I was told I needed to go to a training class to learn more about diabetes and how to deal with it day to day. On my way to pick up my wife at work to accompany me to class, I was listening to Sam & Bob on KVET. They were the folks I was working with when I retired. It was just a normal morning.
As I drew closer to the library, I heard Bob Cole say that apparently a small commuter plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. I remember thinking to myself, “How the hell do you miss something that big?” Then I remembered back in July of 1945, a B-25 crashed into the Empire State building on a foggy day. I remembered the story because I had an aunt who was there walking on the street about a block away when it happened, so it CAN happen.
When my wife got in the car I was in the process of telling her about what Bob was saying on the radio. It wasn’t a minute later when he came on the air and said apparently a second plan has hit the other tower. We just looked at each without a word. It was obvious what this was. It was not an accident.
When I got to the place of the training they already had CNN on the TV. By then, both towers were burning and now they are taking about smoke at the Pentagon. I wondered, “Just how big is this thing?” As we waited for the class to begin, we watched the live footage and then suddenly one of the towers collapsed. I remember leaning over to Zee and saying, “They just killed at least a thousand people.” We watched it in real time. The pit of my stomach just fell like a rock. At that moment in time, I didn’t care about the class. Diabetes or anything. I just wanted to go home and watch. I don’t remember a thing I learned that day. My mind was in New York, The Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.
When class was out, I drove to my work and told my boss, I had to go home. I was a quality Specialist for General Motors/Sitel. There was no way I could perform quality work that day and so I went home and watched until the wee hours of the morning. One of my strongest impressions was learning how few people were actually taken to the emergency room. That indicated to me that the death toll was going to be extremely high knowing those building housed about 50,000 workers. The hurt, grief and shock was stunning. Like you, I had never seen anything like it before. It was hard to fathom. Hard to digest. The New York skyline was empty.
Who would do this? Who did do this? It was obvious. EVIL was at large. Later in the day, we learned there were 4 planes involved and that America had been targeted. Some of those images are as fresh as if it happened yesterday. Images you can never forget. People jumping from the towers because they faced even worse options, the crushed firetrucks, people staggering down the street like the walking dead covered in masonry residue. I knew that day that the world for all of us had changed and it will never be the same again.
As we reflect on the events of 15 years ago. Never forget that feeling we all shared as the events of that day unfolded. Let us remember the things that are important and worthwhile. Let us NEVER forget.