I was working as a travel agent at the time for the worse boss I’ve ever had. This was a woman who thought the way to deal with her employees was to scream and curse at them. Every Tuesday I had to drive 25 mile to another office that she owned to work there. It was a dark dreary office and even though I wasn’t in the same office with her, she found ways to electronically harass me. I hated it and I hated Tuesdays for that reason.
At that time there was a Philadelphia TV station that for whatever reason broadcasted on the radio as well. No one in any other area of the country has ever heard of that, but believe me it was true. I would listen to Good Morning, America as I drove. Unfortunately, the further south I went, the worse the reception became. Normally, it was no big deal-I just switched to a regular station and kept driving, but this morning, it mattered.
I was just in the area where the reception started to fail. Diane Sawyer said something about reports coming in are saying…We’re hearing of an explosion that…possibly a small plane has…
I couldn’t hear what she was saying. I switched to another station that didn’t have much more information. Shortly, I got to the office where I was going. The girl that I worked with there was 23 and excessively bubbly. She started babbling about new curtains that she just found on-line (wasn’t she supposed to be working??) and other kinds of things that I didn’t want to hear at that moment. There was a radio and I told her we needed to get it off of the rock station she was listening to and find the news.
The way the computers worked at that office, my computer was somehow routed through her computer which made everything work very slowly. I tried getting on-line to find information but this setup slowed things down, there was probably suddenly a lot of traffic and it was after all 10 years ago.
We did find a station that was using a feed from the Associated Press and we got decent news that way. But no TV made me feel like I was in a vacuum. I’ve never talked about it, but I truly am a terrible news junkie. I’ve been this way since I was a child when Huntley and Brinkley were my best friends. I decided my best chance for news was Ralph. I called him. By the time I got to him, both Towers had been hit. I needed to see what was going on, just telling me didn’t work. I kept saying to him, “but where did the planes go??” Finally, understanding my frustration at the situation he said, “they’re just not there anymore…”
Under the circumstances, being in a travel agency, we had lots of work to do, trying to get information regarding flight cancellations with all air traffic being halted. We eventually heard about the Pentagon being struck. My panic rose and I was really close to the breaking point when we heard about Flight 93 going down in Pennsylvania. Was it shot down, was it terrorists again? We couldn’t know at that point that there were true heroes on board the plane that day.
I’ve often thought that this was the longest day of my life. I had to piece together the information I could from the radio. At the time I was still working as a Weight Watchers leader and I was scheduled to do a class that night. I got a call from my supervisor telling me that Weight Watchers had formulated a statement that the leaders were to read at the meetings that night. I don’t remember what it said, something about everyone understanding that this was not an excuse to let our eating habits get out of control. I don’t think I actually read it, I sort of paraphrased.
I had about a 45 minute window between when I got home and when I had to leave to do my class. I remember running into the house and absorbing all that I could in that short time. I couldn’t believe that the Towers were gone. I don’t really remember anything about the class. I’m sure we probably couldn’t talk about Weight Watchers, talking more about the day’s events.
I think I stayed up half the night watching the news, taking in what I had missed during the day, watching those images over and over again, trying to grasp the enormity of it. I’m not sure that I have done that to this day.
It breaks my heart now to see photos of the New York City skyline. They’re not there and they never will be. It always catches me up short when I see an older movie or TV show and there they are silhouetted in the distance…right where they should be.
In my efforts to clean out and pack up this jumble that is my life, I went through a lot of old photos. Among them, I found this collection. They really are my photos, not any file photos from a news source. I had been in New York City with a friend and just for fun we decided to take the Circle Line Tour around Manhattan Island. There were a bunch of photos of all kinds of things…and then there were these.
I am so pleased that I can share them with all of you. Like these buildings, the people that we lost that day, civilians, police, firefighters, none of them can ever be replaced. Along with the heroes of Flight 93, they will live in our hearts always.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Never Forget.