I was working at a large office complex in suburban Baltimore at the time and was in a closed door meeting with four other folks beginning at 9am. Around 9:55, the PA announcer came on. In the past, she would begin each announcement with a pleasant sounding, “Good morning! May I have your attention please.” Not this time. There was no “Good morning” introduction. So when she came on in a serious tone, I immediately sensed that something wasn’t right. She then said words I will never forget, “May I have your attention please. Due to the situation in New York and Washington, please remain off the telephones except for emergencies.” We looked at each other in puzzlement, not knowing what had happened. (My initial thought was that it was some sort of massive communications failure in the Northeast.) We ended the meeting, left the room, and looked to our left. Down the hall was a group of people lined up outside another conference room. They and everyone inside the room were watching CNN; a bunch of other folks nearby had their radios on. Everyone had terrible expressions on their faces. I left the office and drove home, wondering (perhaps exaggeratedly) whether this was the beginning of the end of the world, in that we had no idea what would happen next. I certainly wasn’t shocked that we were hit with a terrorist attack. It had been coming for a long time. But I didn’t expect what actually happened.
May we as a nation have the strength and willpower to prevent anything of this magnitude from ever happening again—no matter the cost or the number of people whose feelings are hurt in the process. We owe this to our children and grandchildren.