On September 11, I was working at a major technology company in North Carolina’s research triangle park. My husband works there too, in the same office, so we rode to work together. Usually he drives, but that morning he told me he was feeling nervous about the 8-mile drive into work, and why didn’t I take the wheel?
It started off like an Ordinary day once I got to work. I worked in a call center, and the phones were as busy as they usually are on a tuesday, which is to say it was fairly hectic. One of my co-workers informed me of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. We sat there for a moment and said “What a terrible accident”, and pretty much got back to work.
When I heard the same co-worker start to sob, and she told me about the second plane, I went cold all over. I started to notice that there was something very wrong happening where we were, and then I realized that the phones had all of the sudden stopped ringing. Imagine a warehouse-sized room, crammed full of cubicles, and in each cubicle a telephone. It wasn’t just our department, the whole entire call center was suddenly silent. Between 100 to 200 people were crowded around the two television sets that hang from the ceiling in the center of the room. The only thing breaking the eerie silence was the occasional shout of disbelief, or the sound of someone crying.
Shortly after, everyone was ordered to return to their desks. We were not permitted to make outgoing phone calls. Not being able to stand in front of the television and see the events on CNN, we had to try our luck with the internet news sites. Unfortunately, the sites were being bombarded with hits, making any sort of news inaccessible. Rumors started flying around, some were saying that the Sears Tower in Chicago had been attacked, that a bomb had gone off at the White House and at the washinton mall. We didn’t know what was real and what was rumor, and all we could do was sit in the silence and wait.