Day 652 – The Day After the Anniversary
I still feel strange talking about 9/11. I wasn’t there. I was in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I was working at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. I was sharing a windowless office at the very end of a hallway in a mid-rise glass-and-steel mixed-use building. I got a call from my wife, “they’re saying a plane just hit the world trade center.”
I ran down the hall to the conference room that held a large flat panel TV and turned on the some network affiliate. I was just in time to see the second plane hit the south tower. I watched the news for the rest of the day. We all did. When the news the Pentagon had been hit came in the feeling in the room changed. The realization the United States was under attack became paramount. I, being a font of useless airplane knowledge, pointed out “there are thousands of aircraft enroute over our country right now. Any of them could be a weapon.” That perked everybody right up.
Later at some arbitrary time i left the office and drove home to the tiny apartment my wife and i shared. My upstairs neighbor Nate rolled up at the same instant i did and parked on the opposite side of the street. We stared at each other while sitting in our cars. “Know anybody in the towers?” he asked. “Yes, several,” i replied. “You?” “Yes.” We walked into the block-like three story apartment building and climbed the stairs. He continued up to his floor. There wasn’t a whole lot to say.
A couple years earlier i was working on the 52 floor of “One Liberty Plaza” which was across Greenwich Street from the main WTC complex. The account exec’s offices looked right at the towers. Had i still been working there i’d have had a front-row seat for the whole thing. I would have been at Ground Zero. As it was i was sitting in a windowless conference room in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I still feel anger at not being there. I still feel a good friend got beat up in some kind of bar fight while i was off vacationing. I still feel guilty i wasn’t there to help.
Later as Ordway Center put out statements of support for New York (and the other targets) i had to deal with several patrons saying things like “New York got what it deserved… that sinful place.” I wanted to do horrible things to the man who wrote that and the others who expressed similar sentiments. From that day forward i avoided Ordway productions for fear i might overhear something and lose control.