Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Ten Year Anniversary: Where Were You That Day?

I was visiting the IowaCityPatch website and came across the following post: Ten Years Since 9/11: Where Were You That Day?:
It's been 10 years since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon. What do you remember about that fateful day?
I was driving to work that morning and listening to KCJJ radio.  They cut from their normal programming to listen to CNN coverage of what sounded initially to me to be the unfolding story of a small plane accidentally crashing into one of the World Trade Center towers.  I had visions of non-stop news coverage of an accident that affected a bunch of people in New York City, but otherwise meant little to the rest of the country.  Little did I know how right I could be while being so wrong.  I flipped off the radio and continued my short trip to work in silence.  Shortly after arriving to work and flipping the radio back on, I realized that a second plane had struck the other World Trade Center tower.  Then we learned that the Pentagon was hit.  Eventually, we learned of a crashed plane.

It was one of the least productive work days that I've ever experienced.  Everyone was focused on radio reports and scanning the Internet for updated information.  The President and the Vice-President were squirreled away safely.  Washington DC was closed down.  The sky was being cleared of all air traffic.  Occasionally, one would hear the sound of some military jet and even Air Force One up in the sky.  But otherwise the skies were clear.  Everything was uncertain.  We all just knew that we had been attacked by someone.  Were we going to war?  Against whom?  For how long?  Lots of questions and few answers on that day.

I remember my now-former-agency director frantically wondering if our office should be closed down due to potential attack.  I remember laughing and thinking about the 9/11 post-script: "Pentagon, World Trade Center, and Johnson County Social Services building attacked on this date".  We didn't close and the building managed to remain intact despite the uncertainty of the day.

I watched some of the news coverage on television when I got home that evening, but ultimately decided that it wasn't good for Leslie to sit around and watch that stuff.  We decided to get away from the TV that evening and go to the city pool.  We were the only ones there outside of the lifeguard.  To this day, I don't regret the decision to go swimming that night.

So that's where I was on 9/11.  How about you?

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