Sunday, September 11, 2011

The details of my 9-11 story are quite inconsequential

I was working at my Dad's business.  No television.  A small radio.  One crappy (even by 2001 standards) computer with dial-up internet access.  We had gotten all the delivery drivers out on their routes by the time of the attacks, and Dad and I were the only people left in the warehouse.

My grandmother called about 9am.  A plane had hit the World Trade Center, she explained.  She said little else, but seemed exasperated.  My grandmother had always been an excitable person, and I had just recently learned that years ago a plane had hit the Empire State Building, and the building had withstood it.  I didn't quite understand why my grandmother was calling.  Such an odd phone call.

Of course, we got a better idea as the day wore on.  Without a TV, we were relying on the radio and the dial-up internet connection, the latter of which was of little use.  All the news sites were swamped with traffic.  Dad eventually had the idea of checking the BBC website, which did eventually load for us.  All sorts of crazy reports were coming in over the radio, such as the rumor that the State Department had been car-bombed.  I was kind of freaked out at this point.  Who knew what else was going to happen?!

Still, we had business to conduct.  Shipments to receive, customers to service.  We went about our jobs with what in retrospect was stunning normalcy, still monitoring the radio for the latest updates between spurts of work.

I don't recall whether I saw any still photographs of the attack on the Beeb website, but I know I didn't see any video until I got home that day some time after 4pm.  Most of the hard facts had been sorted out by then - at least about what had been destroyed and what hadn't.  I was still flabbergasted when I eventually saw the video, even knowing what the news of the day had been.  Such unbelievable horror, viewed all at once.

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