I was on my way home from work in northeast Philadelphia that day. We had a meeting after our night shift concluded and I left when traffic was at its peak along I-95 especially due to a construction or repair project.
The things I was hearing on my CB radio from truck drivers all had common words in them. The most prevalent were “building”, “plane”, and “New York”. It wasn’t until one of those drivers held his mic up to the regular radio that I was able to get a better idea of what was going on. I still thought it was an accident so I phoned my Father from my truck and asked him if he has watched the news. He said he didn’t and would fill me in when I get to his house.
Just after that, I heard something (which I can’t recall) which got me to thinking this wasn’t an accident. I pondered my situation in case something was to happen to Philadelphia and how other people would react.
When I arrived at my Father’s home, the look on his face and the sound of his voice were things I have never experienced before or since. My Father grew up on the mean streets of Chester (small city of around 50,000 just south of Philadelphia) and could fight anyone without fear. So imagine my astonishment when the man I hold above all other men showed an affected demeanor.
We spent the next several hours watching the events of the day play out and by the time the last tower collapsed, I was experiencing a storm of feelings that left me numb. I couldn’t believe what I know was actually occurring. I was angry at the perpetrators. I was sad for all the lives that were needlessly ended. And I admit that I was scared as well.
Like my elders expressed to me their recollections of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I feel no pride in being able to say I was around that day and remember where I was when I first heard about it. It’s a blight on us humans as a species the way we kill for no good reason – or that we kill each other at all. But I do hope the survivors of those who were lost have found some measure of solace all these years hence.