Remembering 9/11

WTC 9-11Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the tragic events of 9/11?      As for me, I was attending a job interview meeting with a sales manager working for Crystal Decisions. My interview was scheduled for 0830 on 9/11 so I made my way to the Crystal Decisions office located on Lexington Avenue, and was met in the waiting area by the sales manager. We walked through a series of hallways and offices, and made our way to a conference room on the 34th floor. We sat down, shared the usual pleasantries, and just when we were about to start with the interview, someone came into the room and interrupted with, “A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!” Shocked as we were, the interview was over before it began, and both the sales manager and I began to try and get out to the Internet for more information. We found we could not access the Internet, and our cell phones could not complete a call. What in the world is going on, we asked ourselves? Whatever happened it must be pretty serious if both Internet and call phone service are no longer working. Suddenly there was a parade of people walking down the hallway. That’s when the sales manager looked at me, and said let’s go out to the roof and have ourselves a look. So we followed the others and made our way out onto the roof of the building.
The building I was in was on 44th Street and Lexington Avenue, and the view of the World Trade Center downtown was blocked by the Grand Hyatt Hotel. As I made my way across the roof to the Lexington Avenue eastern side of the building I could see a giant pillar of silver-grey smoke moving horizontally at a height of around 1500 ft. from west to east, and covering the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Just from seeing the smoke I could tell that something really terrible had happened.
Not being able to see anything other than the pillar of smoke emanating from the World Trade Center, I decided to head down to Lexington Avenue, and make my way to another part of the city for a better view somewhere else. When I reached the street I began walking, and that’s when I met the grim reality of the catastrophic events that happened that day. A woman walking towards me was sobbing uncontrollably. I was frozen in place as I watched her walk by. The image of that woman sobbing is something I will never forget.
Looking back, I can’t help but think that it could have been me that perished in the World Trade Center on that terrible day. I can’t tell you how many sales calls I’ve made over the years to companies located in the World Trade Center. I did business with several Japanese banks, Deloitte Touche, Fiduciary Trust, Daiwa Securities, and a host of other companies that occupied the upper floors of the World Trade Center. I came of age in my selling career visiting the World Trade Center. I can draw you a floor plan from the WTC lobby all the way to the 110th floor. I still remember the sound of the creaking as the World Trade Center swayed in the heavy wind. On other occasions while visiting the top floors of the World Trade Center I would look out of the 16 inch wide windows over the Hudson River and see helicopters and small planes flying a few hundred feet below me. The World Trade Center was an architectural marvel to say the least.
Most importantly on this day marking the 12th anniversary of 9/11, I can’t help but feel for those poor people who were killed on that dreadful day, along with the first responders that tried in vain to save their lives. I grieve for them and their families. Those that perished were innocent people like you and I going about their daily routines, and minding their own business. The inhumane way in which they lost their lives makes us angry.

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