Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001

On the day in the above title, I was working for an electrical supply house as a truck driver. I remember it was a bright, sunny day with temperatures that reached the mid 70s. Perfect weather, a good day for a drive. I was making a delivery to the data center for a major chocolate company where I usually just dropped the stuff at the dock and made a note on my manifest. This day, the receiving manager came up to me and asked, "Do you have a radio in your truck?" To which I replied, "Yes but I don't have it turned on." He said, "Well come in the office and look at this." He had a small TV in his office, and on the screen I saw the vision of the North Tower burning, thick black smoke billowing out of the floors that the plane crashed into. My first thought was an accident, the pilot somehow lost course and crashed into the building. I asked the receiver, "What happened? Was it an accident?" He said, "I don't know, they're saying it was terrorists." I said, "Terrorists!?" "Oh God!" I watched for a minute or two and said, "I gotta get going, I'm going to listen to this in my truck." I left the building and got into my truck and left. I turned the radio on in the truck and as I made my way to the next stop, I heard that another plane had crashed into the South Tower. I thought, "That's it, it's gotta be terrorists."
There was no way two planes could accidentally crash into those buildings within seventeen minutes of each other. When I arrived at my next stop, one guy there said, "A plane just hit the Pentagon in D.C.!" I said, "Yeah, I heard about it on the radio." I made my delivery and the guy said, "Be careful, watch the skies." As I went to my next stop the newsman said a plane had crashed in a field in Somerset County, PA. I was flabbergasted. I thought, "Jesus Christ, how many planes did these assholes hijack?" Then the incredible happened: at 9:59AM the South Tower collapsed. The newscaster was frantic in his delivery of the message. My jaw hit the floor. I could not believe that one of the towers of the World Trade Center actually fell. I was making a delivery at a job site when I heard the North Tower fell. One of the electricians on the site had his radio tuned to the news station. I was almost numb with horror when I heard about it. I was thinking to myself, "How many people work in those two buildings? 20,000? " I later heard that up to 50,000 people could have been in those buildings at any given time. I kept going and finished making my deliveries, with various people asking me if I heard about what was going on. I answered in the affirmative, that yes I've been listening to it on the radio. I returned to the warehouse in the early afternoon. I parked my truck, unloaded my returns and turned my manifest in. I remember talking to another driver, a big hefty guy with a deep stentorian voice. He said, "Those motherfuckers are gonna wish they never pulled this shit on us." Thank God Bush won the election and not Gore." I agreed with him and went into the breakroom to see if they had it on the TV in there. They did of course, people were mainly silent as they watched the destruction of two icons of American engineering and economic prowess. I could not believe what had happened. But it did, and to this day we're still fighting the group that did it. My heart goes out to all those who died and those who lost family members in the attacks on September 11, 2001. I only hope that they will not have died in vain.

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