I was working from 11 PM – 7 AM in Washington DC at the time. My office was not far from the White House. I was watching the end of the Today Show when they reported that what they thought was a small commuter plane had hit the WTC. The rest, as they say, is history. I had several family members and friends that worked in NYC. My father’s office was 8-10 blocks away. I was scared to death that something would happen to him. I tried over and over to get through to his office. When I finally did, one of the partners answered. I asked to speak to my father, and the guy was hysterical. He said “He’s on another line! It’s World War III outside!!!” and he hung up! I didn’t speak to my father until much later that evening. Thank God, he was ok.
All of DC was in a panic. I got through to my office to see if everyone was ok. At that point, there were all kinds of crazy reports: the White House had been struck, the Capitol Building had exploded, the World Bank was next….. They evacuated my office and it was closed for the next 2 days.
Like millions of other people, I sat helplessly in front of the TV, wishing there was something I could do. My best friend Dan, who was an A.D.A. in Manhattan at the time, was not one to sit by. He went directly down to Ground Zero which was just a few blocks from his office. He jumped right in and started helping emergency workers dig through the rubble, in the hopes of finding survivors.
12 years later, my friend Dan succumbed to a rare form of cancer that his oncologists are 99% certain he contracted while working at the site.
So, while I didn’t know anyone who perished on that exact day, I am certain the events of that day caused Dan’s death. He was only 49.
What a horrible day…. a horrible day… and yet, I fear that we didn’t learn very much. People still don’t care about their fellow human beings, politicians have gone mad…. it’s just crazy.