9-11-2001 - Remembering always ~ I light a candle 9-11-2011; and weep 9-11-2012
|9-11-2001 - Started as an ordinary workday for this worker-bee (what I call myself in my day job). I got to work a bit early, around 8:30, to greet a couple of clients from out of town and set them up in a conference room. I booted up my computer, checking my email.
"Turn on your radio, a plane just crashed into one of the Towers," Steve, one of my co-workers called across the hall. As I was tuning in Howard Stern, he shouted, "The other Tower just got hit! This is no accident!" I ran into Steve's office to listen.
Over the next hour or so, we all migrated to radios, then televisions in conference rooms, and saw first one, then the second Tower crash to the ground. Overloaded phone lines went down, cells were overloaded, and we lost contact with everyone outside our office. Our receptionist told me the managing partner had just prepared an an announcement to order the office closed and allow everyone who wanted to leave to go home for the day. As he handed her the script, lights started flashing and the building alarms sounded.
"A possible emergency has been reported. This is not a drill, evaculate the building. This is not a drill, evaculate the building." sounded over loudspeakers, and kept repeating, along with alarm claxons and flashing lights. On the way to my desk to grab my flourescent orange vest (I'm one of four emergency monitors on our floor), I opened both the ladies' and men's room doors and called in, "It's not a drill, you need to leave down the stairs now!" The alarms continued as I strode quickly through hallways to check closed offices for stragglers, and rather tersely told them to head for the emergency stairway.
"Where do I go, how do I get out?" a client asked, near-hyperventilating as she pushed on the locked doors to the elevator bank.
"Follow the people to the stairs," I replied, pointing down the hall, and followed close behind. A quick passing glance out the window showed me planes heading west, quickly descending towards the airport. Later we learned they didn't all land - one continued on to Pennsylvania.
Down one floor, one of my co-workers stood in the emergency doorway, leaning on her cane and sobbing, as people from floors above rushing down the stairs, jostled her.
"Come on, Linda, it's all downhill!" I grabbed her arm and pulled her with me. Yes, people passed us by, only a few muttering about 'slowpokes will get us killed' as they pushed past. But that was the exception. A couple of floors down, a stranger from a floor above, a big guy, grabbed Linda under her other arm, pulling her away from me. They made much better time, as he occasionally lifted her off her feet in his controlled haste. I picked up my pace walking down, floor by floor, now trying to thumb home on my cell, which was still busy-overloaded.
We reached the street and sought out familiar faces, found friends, quickly offered or found rides home.
My one boss took our clients home with her. They could not return to the Marriott across the street (where they were staying this trip), as it, along with all the office buildings downtown, had also been evaculated. She later took them to a suburban mall and bought them some underwear, toothbrushes and other sundries, as they had left their purses and briefcases in the conference room in their panic.
I, along with three of my co-workers, lucked out finding someone who lived close by us (sort of) and offered each of us a ride home. We were lucky, only five flights of stairs up to his car (elevators all still locked down). My cell caught a break first on the way home, so after I reached my husband, I passed it around so everyone else could let their loved ones know they were safe. We were safe, but so many were not ^_&
Today, 9-11-2011 - That's what I recall of that workday, ten years ago. When I think of the thousands of my fellow worker-bees in New York who didn't have a chance to walk down stairs to safety, I still shed a tear, and I hope that I always will.
I light a candle of Remembrance.
Reprise of Tears ^_&
Benghazi, Libya 9-11-2012
11 years to the day ~
When those we put in power forgot the first 9/11.