Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

My only visit to the World Trade Center was June 10, 2001. It was a Sunday, and I dropped a trailer at the Cirque De Soleil site at Liberty National Monument Park in Jersey City, NJ, that morning. Then I stayed over until Monday and picked up a loaded trailer for the Cirque going to Chicago.

It was a day off with a great site seeing opportunity, so I took a water taxi over to Manhattan. From there it was a short walk to the twin towers. I didn’t go inside or do a formal tour or anything, more like a tourist munching on an ice cream cone looking up at these magnificent buildings. I walked around the neighborhood, checked out a few shops, took a break at a Borders Bookstore, and headed back to my truck.

Next morning – June 11 – I took a picture of my truck with twin towers in the background, got my trailer and headed out.

Who could imagine what would happen three months almost to the hour later.

On Sept. 11, 2001, my wife Geri and I had picked up a new tank trailer in Montreal going to Signal Hill, CA. We were on our way first thing that morning, a beautiful day, a nice long ride with an empty tank. What could go wrong?

I was driving at the time, and Geri went back to the sleeper for something and flipped on the TV. She said, “Stop. You better get back here and see this.” I pulled into a service plaza, and we watched what the whole world was watching.

We were still nearly 500 miles from the border – which was shut down. We got into the last truck stop about 20 miles out, camped out for the night, and then got in line at 5 a.m. Fifteen hours later we cleared the border. It could have been worse. The police would keep us stopped for two or three; then we moved ahead a couple of miles.

A radio or TV station in Sarnia, Ontario, sent out chicken dinners and pizzas. We had our TV, and we were glued to that so our inconvenience was a mere bag of shells compared to so many people’s grief and misery.

When we rolled off the Blue Water Bridge, that ‘Welcome to the USA” sign meant quite a bit more to us. As Dan Rather said early on, “The world will never be the same.”

6 comments:

  1. Driving into work, I heard about it on the CB. Flipped the radio on in time to hear about the second plane hitting the WTC, then about the Pentagon. At that time, where I work also housed a local FBI office, a couple of government agencies and a US Senator's office. Agents with flak vests and assault rifles stood at the entrances and exits. We watched TV at work for a while, then were sent home.

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  2. I was home getting ready to start looking for loads for our truck that was unloading in New Jersey that morning.

    I had the TV on and was on the phone with Rich when I saw the start of the news coverage. I watched it from my living room and he watched it from his truck right across the river. We were both dumbfounded that such a horrific thing could happen in our country.

    It is a day that will forever mark my life because I would have NEVER believed that anyone would declare war on us on our own soil.
    I had pretty much put the whole tragedy in a separate box marked, "Will never happen again". But now we are dealing with an Imam of the Islamic faith who wants to put a mosque at Ground Zero which will represent to me a day of triumph for the Moslems.

    I'm not sure we will ever again be able to accept this particular group of people in the same way. I think perhaps I have reached the pinnacle of my "tolerance" meter. I am just plain tired of having to compromise and be politically correct without the same expectation of the other side.

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  3. I was on an Automotive load out of NC - headed to Cleveland, OH. I first heard mention of the events on the CB, as I was hitting the exit ramp for my fuel stop at Wytheville, VA. While I was pumping fuel, the third plane hit the Pentagon.

    Next up on my route was the lengthy crossing of the mountains of WV, where trying to keep a radio station tuned in for news was a knob-whirling nightmare.

    A few months later, satellite radio first became available nationwide. I was among the first adopters of that technology, specifically for the News channels...just in case...and have stayed with XM ever since.

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  4. My alarm clock went off right at 8am, Central time, just after the first airplane hit one of the towers and I the first words out of NPR anchor Karl Casell's mouth was "An airplane has stuck the World Trade Center." I jumped out of bed, ran into the den, and turned on the TV and few minutes later saw the second one hit.... and then the report came in from Washington about the Pentagon.... and the report about the airplane that went down in Pennsylvania. For a few moment I thought it was the end of the world, but soon realized it wasn't for me but rather was for only those caught up in the events of the day. I spent the rest of the week working from the den, covering what this meant for trucking for a web site and radio broadcast I was doing. I think had it not been for working so much that day and the rest of the week, it would have been much harder to cope with what I saw. To this day, I still can not escape the images of people jumping out of the towers every time I think of 9/11. I wish I could erase these images from my mind, but then again better to remember them in this way than to forget them.

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  5. i was at home in bed.. when i heard about it ...turned on the tv and when they came down i thought those buildings were imploded just like the old hotels in las vegas nv. and the kingdome in seattle wa. and a thousand other buildings across the nation. to this day i have not seen any evedence to chang that belief.. IT WAS AN INSIDE JOB who it was on the inside i dont know. an airplane evan a 757 just cannot carry enoph fuel to cook the guts of those towers to make them fall down thru themselves at best they would have fallen to the side and landed on the neiboring buildings leaving the base up to about 60 floors mostly intact.

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  6. I was working at a children's camp in managing their kitchen when the power went out (often happens) and went out to listen to the news in the car for why the hydro went out. There was a group of people outside all around this one car and listening to what was going on. We had to go into town later that night and watch the news from the Radio shack store. We were in shock.

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