(Anything changed or expanded on is in brackets.)
“Turning and turning in the widening gyreAmazing how that poem still applies...
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, …”
I had talked to James. I was coding Richard’s mod[ification]s, having looked up a purchase order.
Susan [Kiddoo] came by asking if I had a small TV. I told her no, that Tamera [Murphy] did, and Susan said Tamera wasn’t in. I asked her why she needed one (I thought she had one), and she said her batteries were dead and they were reporting on the radio that a plane had hit one of the buildings on the World Trade Center.
I zipped over to CNN’s site and there was a photo of smoke coming out of the building and flames to be seen. They didn’t know what was going on. It looked to be a commercial airliner. Maybe the pilot had a heart attack or something dreadful?
Susan came back by with batteries for her own television.
I called James, who said he was watching it.
Then Susan came back by. She said as they were watching, another plane came out of nowhere and struck the second tower.
My blood ran cold. One plane is an accident. Two planes is not.
I kept trying to find web stories, but the web slowed and slowed, evidently as the news spread. Then I screwed up. I rebooted, hoping to get my connection speed up. I never got back on.
Susan Varga-Sinka came by and said that “a bomb” had gone off in the Pentagon.
I called James but he had already left [for work].
I turned on the radio and found the WGST feed.
“The bomb” in the Pentagon turned out to be another jet, crashing into the building. Later a fourth jet was reported crashed near Pittsburgh.
President Bush was in Florida, speaking at a school. Within ten minutes he was on Air Force One, heading for God knows where.
It all got jumbled after that. By then I was scared. I called James at work and scared the hell out of him asking him how much ammunition we had [in the house]. [By this time I was thinking Red Dawn.]
I wandered around the halls. Lorenzo [Falgiano] had a television. They showed one tower smoking, and the film of the second plane going through the building. The second tower collapsed, then the first. I couldn’t watch anymore. I could only think of Pearl Harbor.
The reports came in. These weren’t private planes. They were commercial jets, two of them from Boston, that had been hijacked. The other two planes had left from Dulles, also hijacked.
Those bastards not only killed innocent people, but they used innocent people to do so. I kept thinking of those people on the planes…
Betty [Bouler, my supervisor] and Debby [Fallick] came around and said people could leave or not as they wanted. The building was being locked down and if you left you couldn’t come back in. I couldn’t do anything, so I left.
Now I know how Mother felt in 1941.
I walked in the door and Bandit said, “Where’s Daddy?”
“Where’s Daddy?” indeed.
Thank God for the internet. I got online. Biz had already sent out a message [on the Remember WENN mailing list] asking about NYC WENNers. Also had messages from Pat Brimer [in Boston]...
(CNN.com said CDC was “closed down.” I called Betty. They were just leaving.)
Logged on every half hour to see messages while watching the appalling replays of the attacks. What must all those poor people on the planes have gone through? (All four planes were headed to California, with the maximum amount of fuel. Not just four planes picked off a field. Four specific planes, planned for.) The building collapsing, dusty people emerging from the wreckage, hurt people, dead people, emergency people doing their best. I talked to Mother. [She had not yet turned the television on that morning and didn't know what was going on.] James came home for lunch and we watched. I can’t believe this is happening. I want to wake up. I want to wake up.
Kerri [Berney] reported in. Two miles from the site, she was still inundated with ash. Alan [Sherman] was out of town (in DC, ironically).
Cruised channels. Lingered awhile on Angel One where they were saying the rosary. Put WSBK [Boston] on—they were carrying the feed from WBZ [Boston], which was talking to the brother of one of the Boston-based pilots. Listened to Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, the local Atlanta news. Right after a woman reported watching the planes from another World Trade Center building, that building collapsed from damage.
[Sometime during the afternoon or evening several of the cable channels went off the air. HGTV had a sign up that they had stopped broadcasting out of respect for what had happened.]
Hilary Clinton and the other Senator, Schuman, spoke. The president will be on later.
At 5:30 I took the flag outside and, using string, set it up at half staff. I wanted to do something.
We had a WENN chat tonight, just because we needed each other. Everyone seems to be accounted for.
Wish it was the same for everyone else.
Funny thing about that flag. James had just mounted a holder for those big seasonal flags you put out on your porch. I wanted an American flag for Independence Day, Flag Day, etc. Michael's had a beautiful flag, with sewn seams and embroidered stars rather than one that was all printed, but it was rather expensive. On Labor Day, though, they had a 50 percent off coupon and I was able to get the flag.
It was Labor Day 2001, so that the first time I ever put that flag up, it was September 11. It's outside now, using the same string to hang it at half staff.
Labels: events, history