Sunday, September 11, 2016

Never Forget

I was working in DC that day, about 7 miles south of the Pentagon (VA actually). I was working on a long term project and was flying to DC every week from Tampa. I was leading a staff meeting that morning when someone came in and said "a plane crashed into the Twin Towers in NY!"  

Wow, that was odd. A plane crashing into a building. What could have possibly caused that I remember thinking. I remember everything. I remember saying "that's nice" and closing the door, continuing my meeting. I mean, I couldn't interrupt my meeting because of some freak plane accident in New York?

A few minutes later, the same person came bursting into my meeting, interrupting it again. "You guys have got to see this! Another plane crashed into the Twin Towers!"

Two planes? What? Ok, that peaked mine and everyone else's curiosity. We paused the meeting while we gathered around a TV in the break room to witness the horror the rest of the country was waking up to.

It wasn't crashes. It was terrorists. And they weren't done yet. There were more planes in the air. And shortly thereafter we learned one was headed our way. 

I remember giving the order to close the facility. I was the guy in charge. In charge of that little piece of the world. Everyone go home. I remember going into a Fuddruckers to continue watching TV. Later that morning we learned a plane struck the Pentagon. I could see the smoke clearly from the parking lot. And flight 93. Those brave souls we learned later decided to go down fighting.  

I was stuck in the hotel for a week. No flights out. Some of my colleagues rented cars and drove back to Florida. I decided to wait it out. There was no telling where was "safe". 15 years later it still feels like yesterday.  

When one thinks of tragic history, like December 7th, it seems so far away, so distant. Yet for many who lived through it December 7th is a day "which will live in infamy" forever. Did we learn our lessons from back then? Some. But some seem forgotten. As do some of the lessons from September 11. It is sad, really, that only 15 years after this attack there seems to be some "amnesia" going around.  

Not here.

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