Everyone I talk to, recalls where they were or what they were doing on that fateful day, on September 11. Living in Boise, Idaho, our physical location was a far cry from that horrific scene in New York. But like most other towns or cities across the country, radio & TV broadcasts, brought the entire event before our eyes.
On September 11, 2001-My eldest son John and I, had gotten up extra early to work on a deck build, located in a foothill subdivision, a great distance from our own home.
An early riser, I am also a news junkie. As I recall, I had watched President Bush, reading a book to some school children in a Florida school. I don’t remember if I heard of the first crash before we left home or whether we were on the road at the time.
At any rate, reports of the first crash, on September 11th, seemed to me like a terrible accident at first. Like most other folks around the county, our first thoughts were of a light plane crash. But then, we heard a description of the massive hole in the side of the tower and resulting smoke and fire. I recall telling my son that I didn’t think a small plane, could cause such massive damage.
He asked me what could. Being an old history buff, I immediately recalled the account of a B-25 bomber that had flown into the side of the Empire State Building, in 1945. (See Featured Video). My recollection was that it had been foggy and that the pilot had become disoriented. We quickly discounted that a similar fate had occurred on 9/11, when we heard reports of a sunny, cloudless sky in New York.
We discussed various theories, but could not come up with an explanation. We were on the downtown connector, headed to our job, when we heard a report of the second crash. John and I looked at each other without saying a word. I cranked up the radio, and we drove the rest of the way in silence, trying to catch every word of the disaster.
I told John not to unload our tools first, as was our habit, but to go with me up to the homeowners house, which was a friend of mine. It took several knocks, before Nancy opened the front door. Before I could ask if she had seen the news, she directed us into the living room, where we all stood and watched a replay of the attacks. I don’t think anyone said a word for some time.
After we watched the responders rush to the scene, we excused ourselves to go to work. I don’t remember the time-frame, but at some point, a worried friend came outside and signaled us to come back inside. That’s when we saw the replay of the first tower come down. As I recall we stayed inside and watched the events until the second tower also came crashing down.
Nancy canceled the days work and sent us home. On our way, dozens of cars were pulled over the side of the freeway, with people listening to their radios.
As other places, the day after and following days, saw a coming together of the American spirit, unlike I had ever seen. I could only imagine, that it was similar, to how the American people, like my dad and uncles felt after, the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Within hours and days of September 11, cars and trucks alike, sported American flags. People with signs and flags, stood on street corners and bridges, egging us on to honk our horns, pray, or flash a sign of solidarity. One particular memory was a young man in a large black four-wheel track, with blacked-out windows and jacked up off the ground like a monster truck. I had seen him before, always sporting a Confederate flag flapping in the breeze.
This day however was different. The Confederate flag was gone, replaced by two huge American flags, hung on tall poles, sticking out of the rear rails of his truck. As he drove by he honked his horn, and stuck his hand out the window in a clenched fist. Was it a sign of his Southern redneck upbringing against the Union? Hardly. It was a sign of unity with the rest of his fellow man. The young man circled the shopping center next to us several times, flags a flapping and horn honking. He then pulled over to some spectators on the corner, stuck his arm out and shook hands with all gathered.
That was and is, our memory of 9/11.
P.S. Last night I watched the History Channels “Voices from Inside the Towers.” If you only see one documentary on the events of that horrific day, then I strongly suggest you see this one. Words like Great, Terrific or Excellent are not worthy. It was however, a beautiful, heart-warming, tear-jerking, soul-inspiring journey, through the eyes of individuals trapped in the towers. Families and friends in contact with loved ones, messages left but not received on time, last goodbyes, a hero Firefighter, and ending with one mans pleas for rescue, just before his tower came crashing down.
The History Channel should be commended for putting this together. It will last the test of time, and became I’m sure a great remembrance for families & friends, especially for the children of those who perished.
As my personal tribute to the families of 9/11: Though Amazing Grace is a favorite, I wanted a more upbeat song-Spirit in the Sky.
|Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky .mp3|
|Found at bee mp3 search engine|
WP Image Credits-Author: UpstateNYer under License CC By-SA-3.0
- File:WTC smoking on 9-11.jpeg by Michael Foran on Flickr
- File:DN-SD-03-11451.JPEG by the United State Navy
- File:UA Flight 175 hits WTC south tower 9-11 edit.jpeg by TheMachineStops on Flickr
- File:WTC-Fireman requests 10 more colleagesa.jpg by the US Government
- File:Flight93Engine.jpg by the US Government
- File:Video2 flight77 pentagon.png by the United States Department of Defense
MP3-Spirit in the Sky