It’s always been stated to me by my father that people always remember where they were and what they were doing when major events happened. He remembers where he was when JFK was assassinated. I clearly remember where I was when 9/11 happened.
At the time, I was an engineering manager for a telecom company working in Plano TX. I had six crew members in the towers installing equipment. I had four crew members installing equipment in the Pentagon.
When the planes hit, I was first called by family members of the crews to see if I knew their whereabouts. I then checked the online news sites and most were so overburdened with traffic you couldn’t pull anything up.
We ended up finding a TV and tuned into the new stories that were ongoing.
I called and spoke to each family of the crews that were in these locations to tell them I didn’t know if they were OK or not, but if I was able to make contact with them, I would let them know.
All phones of the crew members were unreachable due to the collapse of the telecom infrastructure. I waited approximately 48hrs before I started hearing from them.
I cannot tell you the relief when all crew members were able to contact me (after their families of course), to tell me they were OK. All of them were off the worksites apparently having breakfast and all were fine.
I asked them to stay there in the City because our company at the time were asked to help re-establish Wall Street’s telecom infrastructure so they could re-open. I sent the rest of my crews from all over the USA by train, bus, car, etc to the City of NY to help out with the restoration efforts. At the same time, we were authorizing shipment of telecom equipment to proceed directly to the City without PO’s, billing or anything.
Our thought at that time, and still today, is that we would figure out all of the details later, just get New York back up as quickly as possible.
One of the interesting things to note is that after this crisis, all crew members returned home to their families as hero’s. However, due to the collapse of the telecom industry at the time, all of us were released from service. I don’t know what happened to most of the crews after a few years, but I was always very thankful that they survived.