Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11/01

Five years ago this morning, after a rough night's sleep, I decided that I was going to do some work from home rather than go into the office. My first-born son who was 2 months old at the time had kept us up most of the night, so fighting traffic to get to my office in Northwest DC and putting in a full day just wasn't in the cards.

I'm watching the Today Show when Matt Lauer announces that the World Trade Center was on fire. It quickly became apparent that an airplane had crashed into one of the towers. A short time later, a second plane was shown live crashing into the other tower, and it started to become clear that this was no accident, we were under attack.

My wife and I are watching all of this live, cradling our baby, in complete shock watching these events unfurl. Moments later the Pentagon is struck, and this nightmare literally hits home. DC is ordered to evacuate and chaotic, yet rather calm exodus begins. We come to find out next that the fourth highjacked airliner, apparently on target for DC, crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

I live about 15 miles northwest of DC. Mid-morning while all this is happening, I hear the unmistakable roar of fighter jets. I run outside and see F-18s and helicopter 'gunboats' flying low overhead. Devastated by watching and experiencing all of this throughout that morning, I took a break from it all and took my son for a walk. The weather was beautiful that day, a sunny, warm early Autumn afternoon, now tarnished forever by this act of insanity.

Later that day, I see one of my neighbors who worked downtown and described his experience getting home. The Metro was jam packed as you can imagine, so he along with thousands of others walked 3-4 miles up Connecticut Avenue until they could find a subway station that they could get into. When I got back to work two days later, my coworkers described their 3-4 hour trek home that day.

Thinking back, I feel fortunate that I was home that day. Not because of the nightmarish exodus from the city, but more because I was able to be there for my family in one of our country's darkest moments. Today, I feel proud that I recruit for an organization committed to working in the Public Interest, one that works closely with our federal government sponsors to objectively support the design and implementation of systems that will help keep our country safe and secure. My current employer lost someone that day on one of the planes that hit the WTC. Today at 8:46AM, we all paused for a moment of silence in remembrance of all those who lost their lives on that fateful day. I hope you have found a way to remember that fateful day in your own way.

Jim, Yvonne, Dennis and Glenn also offer their thoughts on 9/11.


At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Yvonne LaRose said...

Thanks, Ben, for sharing in the experience and the recollection. It was one of those days that made you wonder, "Why do I work?" Having the opportunity to look into the faces of those who count created the answer. And that answer is why we in the employment industry work.


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