Posts Tagged ‘September 11’

That day.

I must preface this blog by saying that I am, in no way, implying that my experience on that horrible day (9/11) is in any way more traumatic, more incredible or more interesting than any of yours.   In fact, I know, in a number of cases, that some of the readers of this blog had far, far worse experiences.   One worked closely with two of the brave young men seated in first class who lost their lives, most likely, at the hands of those unspeakable monsters before the flights hit the towers.   Another climbed into a cab at the base of Tower One just minutes before the plane struck.   Another lost a fraternity brother (one of the funniest men I’ve ever met) who was working at Cantor Fitzgerald.   My experience (and my memory of that day) cannot even stand in the shadows of what those people feel each day.  I hope that, in reading this, those who eternally carry that pain inside them, will forgive my indulgence.

I write this because I want to remember how such a small decision in life can change so many paths.  It’s amazing to me to really think about how each action, which may seem so completely insignificant at the time, is just a domino in this path we call our lives.   And, I write it because I plan to make this silly blog into a book someday (no, not a real book, of course, but a book that I put together after a year or so of writing and tuck it away in a drawer for my kids to read).   Because, as I’ve learned, you never know who will be around to tell the stories when they’re ready to hear them.


August 15, 2001  (a.m. EST)
Sitting in his office, he asks me to go out to Palm Springs sometime in the next month or so to do a site visit for the 2002 President’s Circle, my company’s annual sales staff incentive trip.   I am to visit three properties, meet with group sales staff, check out the golf facilities, the spa, the meeting space, the dining services, negotiate pricing as necessary and come back with my recommendation.

August 16, 2001  (p.m.  EST)
I contact our corporate travel services and book my flight.   Boston to Los Angeles.  Direct.  American Airlines.  Flight 11.   Tuesday, September 11th.  Departing at 7:45 am.

September 4, 2001 (pm EST)
My live-in boyfriend / future husband (and I really want the ring) tells me that his beloved New York Giants are the Monday Night game next week.   Playing the Broncos in Denver.   I’m bummed because I want to watch the game and know that, with a 7:45 am flight on Tuesday morning, I’ll never be able to stay up.   “Can you go in the day before?”  he asks.  “That way, you can get there, settle in and catch the game that night.”    “Hmm.  Maybe.  Let me talk to my boss.”

September 5, 2001 (am EST)
“Sure.  Sounds fine,” he says.  “If it works with the hotel and the flights.  Just come back a day sooner.”

September 5, 2001 (pm EST)
Flight changed.   Now departing Monday, September 10th.   American Airlines.  Flight 11.  Departing at 7:45 am.

September 10, 2001 (pm PST)
The Giants lose to the Denver Broncos, 31-20.  I talk to R. after the game, turn off the light and settle into my safe and comfortable bed at Westin Mission Hills, Palm Springs, CA.

September 11, 2001 (6 am PST, 9 am EST)
I’m up, I shower, I don’t turn on the television.

September 11, 2001 (7 am PST, 10 am EST)
My cell phone rings.  It’s my friend Beth calling from Boston.   “I can’t believe I got through.  Turn on the tv.  Oh my god.”

And, by then the towers had both fallen.  A plane was missing.   Terrorism.

Flight 11.

September 11, 2001 (7:15 am, 7:45 am, 8:00 am, 9:00 am PST…and so on)
Cannot reach R.  No cell service anywhere.    My parents, my parents, with whom I share all itineraries and all travel plans and emergency contact info.  My parents, who are in Scotland on a golfing trip.   My parents do not know I changed my flight.

September 11, 2001 (2:45 pm PST)
My cell phone rings.  It rings! It’s R.  He’s fine.  I’m fine.   “Your parents reached me”, he said.  “They know you’re ok.”    “You talked to my Mom?”   “No,”  he says, “Your Dad.  Your Mom couldn’t even ask the question.”

September 13, 2001 (8 am PST)
I board a flight with roughly six connections (not many airports are open so we have to puddle-jump around the country) to get home.  Home.   I, like all my other flying brethren on that day, am fearless.   Just.  get.   me.   home.   Flights cancel repeatedly.   The airport televisions show suspicious people getting pulled out of airports, airports once opened are closed again.   No restaurants are open because there are knives inside.  Everyone is carrying their luggage because flights are changing so often.  Everyone is inconvenienced by jostling and cancellations and heavy bags and repeated searches of bodies and bags and laptops and who knows what else….and no one complains. A gentleman and his wife in Las Vegas offer to share a rental car with me to Phoenix, the closest open airport, when we learn that O’Hare had closed to our scheduled arrival.   And on it went.

September 13, 2001 (noonish CST)
I call R. from Cincinnati.  I cry.  Logan has shut down again.  I don’t know how I’m going to get home.   Home.  “Get anywhere,”  he says.  “As close as you can.  I’ll come get you.”   I cry again and rebook.

September 13, 2001 (pm EST)
I get off the plane in Providence.  And there he is.   He’s able to take me home to our apartment now because it’s been reopened.  Our home, in one of two towers that sit on the shores of Boston Harbor, just across from the airport, is deemed safe now as police boats light up the water in front of its entrance.   He tells me that the F-15s have stopped passing over but that the airport remains closed.   He tells me stories about the horrors I’ve not been privy to as I hunkered through airports.   He tells me about heroics.   He tells me he loves me and holds me.  “You’re home.”

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