Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where I Was

On that morning 10 years ago, I was on my way to work.  I was 24 and had a job as a structural engineer with a small consulting firm in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  At 8am (standard time), I was running a little behind and was about five minutes away from my office downtown.

In the first moment that I became aware something was wrong, I knew nothing of the planes or the towers.  The radio was tuned to its customary station and at 8 o'clock the jingle that played sang, "It's seven o'clock!" Then the dj announced the next song and it's artist but he sounded wrong, off somehow.  He didn't address the jingle mix-up either.  Those two things seem inconsequential but that's when I got a knot in my stomach.

Just as I was getting dropped off at the door, the dj made a brief statement about a plane crashing into the tower.  As soon as I got to my desk I went online to get more information.  I can still picture in my mind the screen shot of that first report.  In the lefthand corner was a small picture of a building with smoke billowing out of it and beside was a scant few paragraphs containing very few details.

Just minutes later the phones started ringing.  Spouses were calling.  Another plane.  The now familiar events started unfolding and were reported online, via radio, on tv.  It is strange to try and remember what it was like not to know the whole story.  I remember how they kept reporting on how many planes were still unaccounted for.  What would be next?

I was in the conference room with my co-workers in a small semi-circle standing around our tv (no flat screens back then) when the first tower collapsed, then the other.  The next month while visiting back home we drove up into to the Loop for the evening.  I stood looking up at the sky scrapers and literally shook to think of one falling completely down.  Ten years later, I still cannot fathom it.

Where were you?

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