Everyone Has a Story. Here’s Mine.

It was a clear blue September day as I drove down the Garden State Parkway, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed if it hadn’t been for the guy on the radio. I must have misheard him. Did he say something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center? But that’s not possible. The sky was clear. Surely there were no visibility problems.

Because no one would run into the World Trade Center on purpose.

Oh, how naive I was.

I drove as quickly as traffic would allow me and ran into the office to see if anyone else had heard the same news. I turned on my computer and headed straight for the Internet. I was met with an hourglass and a blank page. I picked up the phone to call my parents. All I got was a busy signal. Although I worked at a legal newspaper, we had no television in the office.

As the morning went on, someone would manage to get to a news website or a call from outside. Words started circulating around the office.

Pentagon.

Planes.

South Tower.

North Tower.

Collapse.

Pennsylvania.

Crash.

All words. The only pictures I had were the ones forming in my mind.

My editor was on vacation that week, so my assistant editor was in charge. And her singular focus was on putting out our daily newsletter. She wanted us to get back to work.

“Don’t you understand what’s happened just miles from here?” I yelled.

She didn’t. Even when all the courts were locked down and our messenger couldn’t get the court opinions we needed for our newsletter.

The publisher eventually sent us home for the day. I headed straight to the safety of my home, locked the door, and checked it again. I was able to call my mom across town to check in. Then I sat down in front of the television, and I finally saw the images that went with those words.

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7 thoughts on “Everyone Has a Story. Here’s Mine.

  1. cynkingfeeling says:

    I can imagine being that assistant editor, wanting to do a good job while the boss is away, not believing the magnitude of the events, pretending like nothing is wrong.
    I can’t imagine hearing the news without the images. I don’t know how that would have made me feel.

  2. elleroy was here (@modmomelleroy) says:

    I can’t imagine hearing the news without the visuals either. I can say that watching it all play out on TV was like watching some kind of action movie. Pure horror and disbelief in the reality of what was taking place. In fact, when I switched the channel to the Today Show and the towers were full of smoke and fire, I thought for a minute I had a movie channel by mistake. Unfathomable, yet today that kind of innocence is a dozen years behind us.

  3. kp Attman says:

    I’ll never forget the images I saw that day. I was far away from home, in a small town in the Andes mountains in Venezuela. Those moments of shock and disbelief aren’t any easier to bear when far from home. Good job conveying your story of that day.

  4. Is Everyone an Idiot but Me? says:

    It’s interesting – I had the same naive reaction. My first thought was, “What idiot flies a plane into a building, how do you not see that?” Because I just couldn’t fathom such a barbaric act. And even seeing the images with the words, it took a while for it to really sink it, it is still sinking in, I will always be shocked by the magnitude of what happened when those planes hit. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Gina says:

    My husband and I were in Tuscany, drinking, eating and touring. When the innkeeper brought us into the main room to show us what had happened, we thought it must be Beirut. We were all naive then shocked by our naiveté. Horrific! This was a well told story of your experience.

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