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Crash Calestorm

Remembering 9/11

I've never gotten the following personal account down on paper before. It seems the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks gave me the incentive to do so. Bless the souls lost that day, and those living who carry on the memory.



72 Hours


On Saturday, September 8th of 2001, I attended a Star Trek Convention taking place in New York City, at a hotel a few blocks from the location of the World Trade Center.


I recall the day in little details: William Shatner was the headliner. I wore a light blue tee shirt with a sea turtle design on the chest and dark blue jeans. I had a black backpack, perfect to carry my identification and personal things as well as any items purchased at the convention.


New York is not a huge distance for me to travel, and I’ve visited the city for school trips and the musicals. My convention buddy for the day -- a friend that I’d been introduced to in high school -- hopped a train with me that morning. The atmosphere was upbeat, as it usually is at Star Trek cons. We spent most of the day at the convention, grabbed some New York style pizza, and then left to board our train home later that night. It had been a good day.


My friend and I had initially discussed turning the jaunt into a weekender trip: do the convention, stay in New York and check out the sites, come home Tuesday.


I arrived at my then job on Tuesday, September 11th at 8:00 in the morning. A medical based transcription service, the business serviced local hospitals and private practices in the area.


The first passenger jet struck the North Tower at 8:46 am. One of the transcriptionists called into the office to give us a heads up; she called again a short while later to say that a second plane had impacted with the South Tower.


The mood in the office changed completely. The phones stopped ringing with customer requests, and we settled into an eerie quiet. A 13-inch, black and white television set was dusted off and booted up so we could keep track of the news coverage. The Pentagon got hit. The Towers fell. The Ground Zero ash wave poured down the streets and alleys of New York. Flight 93 impacted with the ground in Pennsylvania.


My Mom, who I worked with at the time, commented to me later that she got scared when the Pentagon was compromised.


In the jumble of emotions that day, one of my personal thoughts was an obvious one and it came to me at some point after the twin towers went down - “I was in New York 72 Hours ago…”


I mean absolutely no disrespect to the victims, first responders, and families of 9/11, but to this day, I’m thankful that I didn’t move forward with that decision to stay in New York for sightseeing.


I might have been a trapped visitor in one of the twin towers, or I might have been away from Ground Zero. Would I have been desperately attempting to flee the city and get back home, or would I have stopped to help someone that was having trouble getting away from the towers? I’ll never know for sure how I would have reacted if I’d been in New York City on September 11th, 2001. And I’m okay with that.


I also haven’t been back to the city since September 8, 2001.


- MD 09.09.11

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