I remember it was a beautiful day in Corpus Christi, Texas. I decided to go out for breakfast before going to class at Texas A&M Corpus Christ. I first heard the news on my truck’s radio. At the time I thought about the B-25 that crashed into the Empire State Building back in the 1940’s. The building survived and only a few floors were damaged. The television at Harvey’s Barn Door was in the smoking room and I could hear the disbelief in people’s voices so, I paid my tab and walked over to the room. As I walked in I saw the first tower for the first time and I was just in shock. I stared at the screen for a bit when I saw a plane fly into view and strike the second tower. I asked someone, “Did they just re-run the morning footage.”
A weak voice simply said, “No, that was a another plane.”
She was a girl that was in my morning’s class. She was smoking a cigarette and crying. I sat down to join her and we watched silently as reports came in from the Pentagon and Washington D.C. We watched together until one of the Towers fell down. I couldn’t stay any longer, I had to get to class and I asked her whether I would see her there. She told me she could take any more and was going home.
I jumped in my truck and headed for the campus. Corpus is not a big city but, the streets felt strangely empty as I drove out to the island. Class was in one of the small auditoriums with brand new media equipment so, Professor Hansen hooked up the broadcast to the media projector and we watched events unfold on a big screen.
After what seemed an eternity the other Tower fell. I remember shouting, “There goes the other Tower!”
Someone shouted, “No they’re just showing the first one again!”
The room fell completely silent. Only a few seconds before voices were mumbling, “I can’t believe this is happening, What is going on, The world is gone crazy, etc.”
Now no one said a word. At that moment I remembered that the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station was just right across Oso Bay from the campus. NAS Corpus is home to Basic Naval Flight and I suddenly felt uncomfortable being so close to a military base. Some friends and I left the building and started making our way to the parking lot. We all made sure each of us was alright before we parted ways.
Leaving the campus I noticed that security had shut down the only two entrances to A&M. I could see a long line of cars on the causeway onto the island. I thought to myself, “What a beautiful day it was until then.”