Ten Years Ago

NOTE: The following blog post contains nothing about hockey.

Everyone remembers where they were when the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 took place.

I was lucky. I didn’t know anyone who died. I didn’t know anyone who knew anyone who died. And yet, for everyone it was a sad, sickening, gut-wrenching experience. The bubble had burst. The warm glow and feeling of safety that enveloped us was gone.

I was just out of college, on my way to work and running late, when I saw a coworker on the train. She told me about the two planes hitting the World Trade Center Towers.

I got to work and the two conference rooms were jammed with people crowding around the small TVs in each room. People were on the phone, calling our New York office–which was far from the Twin Towers–to make sure that everyone there was OK.

I went to CNN.com, and couldn’t load their website. After 10 minutes of trying, I finally saw some grainy footage of the second hijacked plane hitting the tower.  I tried to find out more–were more planes hijacked? Was Chicago in danger?

Management at my old job didn’t seem too concerned about what was going on. My supervisor, noting that the small conference room was full, decided that we should take our weekly status meeting to the Starbucks across the street–never mind that there are a million other things on our minds right now.

Even worse, one of the owners sent out an office-wide email, reminding us that if we let the recent tragic events distract us too much, then the terrorists have won.

Given our relative proximity to downtown Chicago, around 10:30 AM CST our building was evacuated. The train was packed–everyone in and around downtown was sent home early.

I got back to my apartment and turned on the TV. That is when I started to feel sick. Up until that point, I didn’t realize that people had died or were wounded or still trapped. The only evacuation I’ve ever participated in were school fire drills, and everyone makes it out alive in those. I felt guilty. I started to cry.

There were no flights in the United States for a week. Living in a large city with an international airport, you are so used to airplanes flying overhead that–like your own heartbeat–you don’t really notice or think about them until they are absent.

A week later, I was walking home, and then I heard a plane fly overhead. I was startled. I froze. Things were back to normal. And yet, they would never be the same.

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

One thought on “Ten Years Ago”

  1. Great post, I like reading the posts about where people were when tragedy struck.

    I was a senior in college, sitting in an early AM class. I remember walking out of the classroom and a professor comes running into the room in a panic stating "the World Trade Center and Pentagon are under attack!". I remember looking at one of my good friends in disbelief that we could be "attacked" on American soil. We listened to the radio on the way home and when I got into my apartment my roomates were already up and watching CNN, a scene that would continue over the next week.

    I called my Dad first since he works in the Loop and they had already been evacuated so my nerves were calmed. I called my Mom next since she works in the 'burbs and she was already home.

    I also didn't know anyone that we lost that day or in the defense of our freedom since, but my thoughts are with those who have made the ultimate sacrificed for our freedom.

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