On my way to work on a normal Tuesday morning. I worked as a Cable Contractor for Comcast in Everett Washington. Coffee in my hand and the radio was going I remember hearing the news of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center in New York. A horrible tragedy for sure, I began pondering what could have caused such an event. Perhaps there was a medical emergency in the cock pit? A catastrophic mechanical failure? I was jarred into reality as I was crossing the Snohomish river on Interstate 5. Morning twilight, amid the growing number of cars no doubt listening to the same thing I was. As the announcement of a second plane hitting the world trade center, the reality of what was happening no doubt hit us all at the same time. One plane could be an accident, two planes? Never. We were under attack.
My mind went to my family still home in bed. I called Amy and told her to wake the boys and pay attention to what was happening. History was being made and I do not think that anyone knew what was to come or how it was to end.
As I pulled into work, the guys had ran a temporary line into the shop and hooked up a test television. Only the supervisors were in this early and everyone was huddled around the small black and white set. What do we do? Do we cancel the work and reschedule? Do we just work like nothing has happened? What if something happens here? We did not have a section in the handbook for “When America is under attack”. Over the next hour we prepared for our day and watched as another plane crashed into the Pentagon and another into a field in Pennsylvania. All incoming flights into or over the United States had been grounded or diverted. It was decided that we would work and to keep in contact with the crew if anything were to change.
The entire day was just a very somber and weird day. I was surprised at how many people I came into contact with just had no idea what had even happened. I remember walking into one appointment, apologizing for being late. I told them I would work quickly because I was sure they wanted to see what was going on. They literally had no idea what I was talking about. As soon I got their service on they just stopped what they were doing and watched like the rest of the country.
It would be months before we really understood what had happened and able to identify the lives lost. 2,977 souls were lost that day. We remember them all and we will never forget. 71 Law Enforcement Officers. 343 Firefighters. 55 military personnel. 2,508 civilians that while mostly Americans, included citizens from more than 90 Countries. It was a day that we will never forget. It is a day the we cannot forget.
Driving to church this morning Amy and I passed our towns 9-11 memorial. Just before 9am and the Fire Department’s Honor Guard was there as they have been for the last 15 years. American flag hanging from the Ladder Truck, on duty fire and police gathered with local leaders and citizens for a moment to remember.
15 years later the World is a much different place. Travel has changed and safety measures have been taken to make sure nothing like this could happen again but the scar tissue of something like this runs much deeper. It has shaken our very core. It has forever changed us.