Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started like any other morning… The alarm went off at 5:50am and I hit the snooze alarm for that extra 10 minutes of sleep. The alarm went off again so I stumbled out of the bed to start my morning routine, and turned on the television. I had a particularly unusual day ahead of me, as I had an interview scheduled with a couple of ladies that were deaf and were particularly pushy with their disability. I knew that we had to do the whole registration process for Spherion in 2 hours or less, since that was all we were authorized to pay to the Sign Language Interpreter’s services.
The time was 6am, I normally watched the news in the morning, but didn’t even think much that the Today show was on a bit early, that is until I paid attention to the story they were reporting. There were pictures of one of the World Trade Center towers in flames, which grabbed my curiosity. I sat on the bed to see what was going on, and frankly the news media was a bit unsure and only had reports that possibly a plane had slammed into the side of it. Knowing that I had a limited time to get ready for work, I took probably the quickest shower ever. I am such a news junkie and needed to get back to see really what was going on to that I could be completely informed when I got to work.
I quickly returned to our bedroom where I would get dressed in front of the TV. I had picked out a very professional purple suit with a matching scarf. What I saw next would forever burn a memory in my head. As the cameras were focused on the burning building, a second full sized commercial airplane slammed into the other building. That is right; it played out on national television. NBC television scrambled to find any and all information they could about the events, but one thing was clear, this was an act of terrorism.
NBC cut away to their Pentagon correspondent to get the reaction of those there. Jim Maclecheviski (not sure about his spelling of his name) suddenly heard and felt an explosion that rocked the whole building. No one was for sure what had just happened, but the rumors once again flowed, suggesting this too was a plane crashing into a building. At this point there were rumors flying everywhere, including that there were over 20 airplanes that were missing and unaccounted for. I could not help but feel extremely scared, could we (San Diego) be the next target?
My time was running short and I was already going to be late. I ran to my car and turned on AM radio AM 600 KOGO for the news. My car only got AM radio at that time, but it wouldn’t matter that much anyway, all radio stations were tuned into KOGO. Not 5 minutes into my commute (about 40 minutes), I heard that another plane crashed in a field just outside Pennsylvania. Wow, Baris (my co-worker) was from Pennsylvania, we really are going to have something to talk about.
Then, as I was battling the bumper-to-bumper traffic going over the hill on the 52, the first tower fell. I felt the goose bumps rise back on my arms, got butterflies in my stomach, and felt the tears roll down my cheeks. My thoughts were with all the innocent victims that had no chance to get out of the building. I had been on top of the World Trade Center when I was in transition between the 6th and 7th grade. They were very tall and had a huge number of visitors and tourists.
The parking lot at work, which was an rather large business complex, was empty, but yet my office (a staffing agency) all reported to work. The president of our company told us we were to report to work, or face consequences… after all, there may be that slight chance a client may have some staffing needs. I was totally disappointed with this announcement as all I wanted was to be with my husband who was sent home from work as he was considered “non-essential” personnel on the Navy Base.
As we entered the door, all 5 of us stood in the lobby dumbfounded and trying to understand what was happening and what to expect next. Our 2 ladies did show up, and we did the interviewing process… mostly with our minds in other places. However, they were they only business related contact we had all day. The phones never rang once (except for the occasional personal call), and the lobby stayed vacant, yet we were not allowed to leave. We tuned our radios in to find out the latest, but that just didn’t seem to be enough, and at that point found the 2nd building had fallen. Our office had a very outdated television for training videos, and so we tried watching television on it… it worked, if we could see past snowy transmission. We wept as we saw the devastation.
This was truly the longest work day ever! We tried to order food in, but Dominos, Pizza Hut and the usual delivery places were closed… we had to actually go and pick up some food. We huddled around more, in complete disbelief.
Since this was a Tuesday, and I was working with the Middle School girls at Journey Community Church at that time, my husband and I made great effort to make it to church that night. Somehow, it was just the most appropriate place to be. Everyone there was scrambling for information, and seeking comfort as much as the next guy, but there was a greater feeling that God was there at what would become known as Ground Zero. We all prayed and prayed. I can’t say healing and immediate comfort happened, but I can say we felt God’s presence.
For several months after 9/11/01, I remember the feeling of fear as I drove past Marine Corp Air Station, Miramar, just knowing that for sure could be the next target… that somehow there was some chemical/biological warfare… so I held my breath as I passed by. I know this was crazy, but it made me somehow feel a tiny bit more secure.
Our lives have forever changed. America continues to be vigilant about monitoring our safety and security, and for a brief moment, it seemed as if a great revival and unity was taking place… all part of God’s handiwork.