It had promised to be a hectic week having to be in Toronto on Tuesday morning, then back through Maryland (home) on Wednesday and out to Chicago for the rest of the week. Had it not been for a last minute schedule change, I would have been flying the morning of 9/11 just as all of the terror unfolded. Because I had to be in Chicago later in the week, I decided to fly out the evening of the 10th instead to get a brief respite in between trips.
I was helping out with some system implementation at my company’s facility in Canada and very unaware of what was about to unfold. When I was first told, shortly after the first place hit, I thought it was a terrible accident. I joined the growing crowd in the cafeteria and watched as the second plane hit. It was at that point that we all knew. I tried frantically to get in touch with my wife back in Maryland who works at a military installation. Of course, by that time everyone was calling everyone so I resorted to e-mail and finally heard from her while United 93 was still in the air. I have never given an order like I did that day…go home, don’t wait, just leave…now. There was nothing I could do and for once I felt helpless.
I had to drive to Chicago that week; crossing the border on the 12th just made what had happened just a day earlier even more real. I finally was able to fly back home on Friday after an airport evacuation and 4 hour delay. Our plane was nearly empty and the mood was somber, almost eerie. It was good to be home again.
As time unfolded I learned that our audit partner had been in the WTC that morning (survived), my closest co-workers brother-in-law was in the WTC that day (survived) and lastly my wife’s cousins best friend who worked in the WTC did not survive. I didn’t have the strength to visit the site until nearly five years later. I will never forget that day…may all those who died RIP.