I was in Rocky Mount, NC on September 11, 2001, about 135 miles east of where I hailed from back then. I worked for a textile company back then as part of their computer tech support and I was at one of our textile plants that morning troubleshooting some issue that I don’t remember very well. Actually there is much about that day that I don’t remember very well.
As I was working on a computer that morning I noticed people gathering around a small TV they had in the plant and I went over to see what the commotion was about. My heart sank as I watched images of a plane fly into one of our buildings in New York City. I remember feeling quite bewildered that something like that could even happen. It was so overwhelming that there was no way I could sit back down and work on that computer, as if it didn’t happen. I couldn’t ignore it. Life suddenly came to a screeching stop.
I don’t remember if they decided to close the plant that day or what exactly transpired after that, but I remember leaving the plant after a short while and heading home. I remember listening to NPR coverage back then on my trip back, trying to get more information about what happened, who had done it and why.
I got back to our headquarters building and sat down at my desk and pulled up CNN’s website and noticed they were slammed. They had so much traffic that day they had to put up a single page with minimal photos and text just to keep people informed of what was happening.
I remember that night, watching President George W. Bush come on TV, vowing to find those responsible. I remember wanting him to slam his fist on his desk and show some presidential passion, some anger that this could have happened. Looking back I know without question that he felt those passions and so much more.
I remember the days after that, still feeling bewildered that something like that could happen. The smoke from the towers seemed to never end as it filled the air over that portion of New York City. I remember the photos of people covered in concrete dust and the cars that were nothing but empty burnt-out frames.
It was still difficult in those few days after 9/11 to do my job. I remember having conversations with colleagues about whether we thought something like that would happen again, and when. I just knew something else would happen, at least that was my prediction. But in the following days and weeks and months, nothing happened. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but was very glad that I was wrong.
Turns out I wasn’t wrong. We just happened to have a President and Commander-in-Chief who meant every word he said on the day the towers fell, and made sure that we weren’t attacked like that again under his tenure.
And it is with a feeling of gratitude that I write this post, that thanks to his leadership as President and Commander-in-Chief, our brave men and women pursued our enemies and kept us safe. Even to this day his leadership echoes into the present as we’ve been able to stop many more terrorists thanks to the infrastructure that was put in place after 9/11.
I’m not sure where you were on 9/11, but one thing I remember from that day is the feeling that I was connected to all of my brothers and sisters across this great nation. For a moment in time nothing else mattered as we all unified in the days afterward. It was a great feeling.
I’ll leave you with the famous video of President George W. Bush with his bullhorn in New York City on top of a car, reassuring Americans that not only could he hear us, but that our enemies would soon be hearing from all of us: