NEVER FORGET 9/11
Posted September 11, 2011on:
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 started out as a special day since I made up my mind to leave the house at 5:30 a.m. to drive to Cave Creek and capture the sunrise. In those days, I worked long hours as a bookkeeper instead of writing and taking photographs as I do now. I took my point-and-shoot film camera and headed out. I arrived in Cave Creek, but the beautiful sunrise never materialized. While I sat in my car contemplating my next move and listening to the radio at approximately 6 a.m., Big Shoe Stu and Dena on KMLE announced the first news of a plane striking the World Trade Center in New York City. I listened and the conversation became more serious and soon came the news that another plane hit the World Trade Center.
I had thoughts of friends I knew but never met who lived and worked in New York City. I met these friends over the years as I worked in Arizona as an accountant in the collateralized mortgage obligation business. I talked frequently to them and became friends with them and shared their news about friends, family and special events and received their holiday wishes.
I decided to end my wonderful morning and drive home to listen to the news and make telephone calls. On my way home at Cave Creek Road and Jomax, I spied two hot air balloons inflating and preparing to sail away, so I stopped and took photos of them. Who would think in looking at the bright blue sky with these colorful, silent balloons that in New York City terror filled the skies?
By 7 a.m., I arrived home and tried to call my mom and dad in Pennsylvania. The circuits were busy, but being the stubborn person I am, I got through and left a message. They called me back and were blissfully ignorant of everything going on in the world. They spent their morning enjoying breakfast at their favorite restaurant and gave me all of the news of the day.
With the television outside my office door, I watched the horror of 9/11 unfold. I talked to associates in Michigan as I started to work at 7:30 a.m. I wondered about my friend, Donna in New York City, so I took a chance and called her home. Amazingly, she answered and told me she saw the planes crash into the World Trade Center from her office building. She and her husband went to her daughter’s school to bring her home and explain to her what was happening although she said they were both devastated and weren’t sure themselves what was happening.
As we spoke on the phone, I looked at my TV, and the World Trade Center towers began to collapse. I tried to explain to her what was happening since she kept the TV off until she talked to she daughter, but she couldn’t believe what I described, and I didn’t believe what I saw. She said she had to go to be with her family.
I walked every morning then as I do now, and I found it very eerie to go out in the early morning and listen to the quiet. No planes flew overhead from Sky Harbor International Airport, but an occasional military jet patrolled the skies from Luke Air Force Base. Even the traffic on the nearby streets seemed to have diminished since 9/11. Yet the sun did rise, and we carried on with our lives as we listened to the accounts and watched the efforts to recover victims from the rubble.
The crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville brought back memories for me when they said the command center was setup at Seven Springs Ski Resort. I knew the place well since I shot at the Pennsylvania State Archery Championships there two years in a row before I left to come to Arizona. I didn’t remember going through Shanksville, but I found it hard to believe that beautiful, peaceful area became the resting place for brave American heroes.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and the sun rose after an evening of intense storms. The world goes on even though it’s different, and we will NEVER FORGET!
Photos by Janice Semmel