Pausing the running and Disney oriented posts to do what a lot of Americans are doing today…Remberring 9/11/01. Where were you when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center?
For me, I was in my last year at Belmont University in Nashville. In the morning, I had my radio set to the local Christian music station. On that morning, the usual morning DJ’s weren’t on the air and there was no music. Instead, I heard that news that two planes had struck the two towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. I’m not a morning person. However, with that news, I literally leaped out of bed to put on CNN and see what was happening. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Not too long after that, another plane crashed into the Pentagon.
I quickly showered and got ready to head out to my first class of the day (International Business) while listening to watching as much of the coverage as I could. By the time I left for class, the news people were talking like America was under attack and no one knew where the next place would be. As I walked with a friend of mine to class, we were approached by another classmate from our International Business class who told us that class had been cancelled. My friend and I responded, “Well that makes sense.” The other classmate asked how he had heard about our professor having car trouble. We asked her if she had seen the news. She had not. We all made our way to the student center to gather with other students around the televisions.
One of my friends was from New Jersey. We stood and watched the second World Trade Center tower collapse in the student center. Tears filled his eyes. Home would never be the same. Before I knew it, I had to go off to my Principles of Management class. Our professor just had us sign in to class that day. He had the news coverage playing and told us that we could either stay and watch or take off after signing in. After all, this was more important than anything he could have lectured on that day. So, I stayed and watched along with many others.
Once class was over, it was time to head back to my apartment, grab lunch, and head off to my internship. On the way, a large group of students and faculty had gathered around the bell tower on campus and were praying for everyone in New York, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and those who lost loved ones on the passenger planes. I stayed as long as I could and joined in their prayers.
As I drove to my internship, I heard on the radio that a memorial service was planned for Centennial Park in Nashville that evening. I hoped I would be able to get there in time. That day, at my internship, we didn’t get very much work done. I was an intern for one of the best publicists in the Christian Music industry. 90% of the calls I had to make that day were to New York. We all agreed that wouldn’t happen. In the office, the news was turned up. Whenever something of importance was being announced, everyone stopped what they were doing and gathered around the televisions. Needless to say, it was a day where very little work got finished.
As I drove back from the internship, I had the radio on to listen to the memorial service. Traffic was going to prevent me from arriving in time. However, I still hoped that I could make it if even for the last few minutes…no such luck.
When I got back home, my roommate and I tried to get studying done, but we couldn’t pull ourselves away from the news coverage. It was as if we were hoping that the news reporters would help us make sense out of what happened. A few friends came over that night and watched with us. Two of them were on top of the World Trade Center two days prior. They had gone to NYC on our Fall Break.
It was a sad and somber day and still feels unbelievable. Conspiracy theorists will debate long and hard on how something like this could happen in the United States of America. To me, none of that matters. We can second guess our representatives all day long and it won’t change what happened. I don’t think that anyone will be able to use a passenger air plane to do that again. Why? Because, before this, when a plane was hijacked, as long as you kept quiet, you’d find yourself landing in a different city than planned and eventually make your way to your destination. No one thought that a plane would be used the way it was on 9/11/01. The third plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Why? The passengers were allowed to call home and learned what had happened to the other planes. They wouldn’t let that happen again and charged the terrorists, deterring what was probably another target in Washington D.C. The PR agency that I interned for took care of the publicity for an album entitled “Let’s Roll” which was released in conjunction with a book by the same title written by Lisa Beamer (who lost her husband on that flight). We did the PR work free of charge.
So, where were you?