I was living in Seattle and the weather was spectacular the evening before. I sent an email to my partner who I was commuting with back and forth with (he is from Vancouver BC) the night before since I was in such a great mood. I had also been getting up early (about 5:15am) most of the summer, but now was able to sleep in until 6:30am as my job was changing slightly for the autumn season. At about 6:15am PDT, my pager went off with 180180180 (which means ‘I love you’ and in turn I would normally email 360360360 ‘I love you back’). “Oh,” I thought “He must still think I’m getting up early and has read my email.” The phone rang and my pager went off again with a strange number in the Vancouver area code. Barely awake, I was able to listen to his message about two planes hitting the World Trade Center. Still confused and wondering if I was dreaming, it is not certain whether I phoned him or he called me again, but he told me what was going on as he was working at the TV station that morning. Flipping on the TV, I was absolutely dumbfounded at the smoke pouring from the towers in a scene facing south from Midtown. Lighting up a cigarette, I couldn’t help but realize that I was no longer dreaming and this was real.
A report came in about a plane hitting the Pentagon.
My stomach dropped.
I raced downstairs and awoke my roommate: “Big things are happening,” I said “You have to see this.” We wound up watching the towers fall, both of us silent in our living room.
I honestly didn’t know what to do other than to shower and go to work.
I’m not even sure that was the most healthy reaction as there were still planes ‘missing’ at that point, but I really felt helpless and confused.
The remainder of the day was dreadful and I can’t remember much other than smoking way more than I normally do and talking with my partner and my Mom. As crystal clear as the initial events were, it’s amazing how the brain has managed to soften the remainder of the day.
It wasn’t over, though. The one thing that will always stand out in my mind is seeing a squadron of fighter jets scream over the house that evening, afterburners blazing in the evening sky as they headed over the Cascade Mountains.
I realized that I had what had been absent for most of that day: security.