I was supposed to be on a flight to Seattle that morning, but the series of meetings I was to be flying out for were cancelled and rescheduled at the last minute, so I drove in to the office instead. When I got there, our department editor was in an absolute tizzy. She wanted to know if I'd heard the news about the plane crash in New York. I hadn't. She told me an airliner had flown into the World Trade Center.
Someone came down the hallway to announce that they'd gotten the TV in the conference room working, and there was live coverage on the air. We went down to the conference room to watch. It was horrible, but not terrifying. I remembered that back in 1940s, a large airplane had crashed into side of the Empire State Building with some loss of life, and yet the building still stood.
Then the second plane went into the South Tower, and we knew it wasn't an accident.
The thing I remember most vividly about the days that followed was the silence. At the time, our office was across the river from the airport. The rumble of the jets overhead was constant background noise; after awhile, you just ignored it.
Then the airport fell silent, except for the occasional roar of a pair of F-16s taking off to fly combat air patrol over the city. That silence—that wondering, if and where they would strike next, and all the wild rumors that swirled around, to fill the void left by an absence of facts—was more frightening than any actual attack.
How about you? What were you doing on that day, and what do you remember most strongly about the days that followed?
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