Can you believe it's been ten years? I guess now I understand what people mean when they say, "It seems like it was yesterday." I know time has passed, but the memories really are that clear.
I remember that it was a busy day at work and I had arrived early. I was the lead on a project that did computer installs for U.S. Senators' State offices. I remember hearing my co-worker hang up his phone and laugh incredulously, saying "That was my mother-in-law. Some whack-job just crashed a plane into one of the Twin Towers in New York. What an idiot." I tried to get on the New York Times website, but it wouldn't load. A few minutes later I got an email notice form nytimes.com, saying that a plane had crashed into one of the towers and their website was overloaded. They would send email updates to their subscribers until they resolved the website issues.
Then came the second email. Another plane, this clearly wasn't an accident. Ryan and I had been married three months at that point and he was working nights so he was still asleep. I called and called and called the house, wishing he would hear the phone downstairs. I just wanted to hear his voice.
I started calling all my sites, all my technicians. None of us really knew what was going on, so we just started cancelling everything for the day. I remember I started saying "Take care" at the end of each phone conversation, something I'd never done before. I managed to get through to my tech support guy in D.C. They were evacuating. I told him to email me when he got home safely.
Ryan finally called me back. I'm pretty sure I just said "Oh my God. Turn on the TV."
Once all my sites were cancelled, there really wasn't anything to do other than talk to co-workers and answer the phones when they rang. We heard that someone in the lobby had a TV and my friend Denna and I went to check it out. One of the maintenance guys had one of those small radio/TV combos and had rigged it up on some boxes. About twenty of us stood around the tiny screen and saw the replays of the towers collapsing, hands clapped over our mouths, some of us choking back tears. I mean, what the hell?
Denna and I went to a late lunch in a usually bustling cafe. There were only a few people there. They had the music off and the televisions sets tuned to NBC and turned up. We sat watching and shaking our heads.
I remember thinking what a gorgeous day it was. Sunny and warm and not a cloud in the sky. It seemed wrong that something so horrifying could happen at all, let alone on such a beautiful day. I don't have any deep insight to share. We can all watch the news and the television specials and hear the stories of tragedy and heroism from that day. I think I just wanted to write it down, rehash where I was and what I was doing.
Not that I'll ever forget.