Twenty years ago, I was driving to work and listening to the radio when the announcer said that a plane has reportedly crashed into the World Trade Center. I thought nothing of it and figured in my mind that it was some sort of small propeller plane. When I arrived at work, I logged on to my computer and started looking at the photos posted on an internet forum. The event started to come into focus and everyone’s life immediately changed.
The tragedy of 911 connected us all. The previous week I had spoken to an IT person who worked in one of the towers in a data center. It was a simple connection that at the moment was another work call and meant nothing at all. In the following days, I spoke to my main customer contacts on the phone and they informed me that everyone in the data center died. There was a moment of silence when they said that, as if it was hitting us all that something was wrong, for it was. Our company worked immediately to assist our customers within hours of 911. We wanted to do something and so we did what we were good at, which was software and tech support. It was a difficult time for us all.
A few years ago, I actually went to New York and had some time to walk around. I stayed in Manhattan and took the tour of the 911 memorial and then I walked down to Battery Park and took the Statue of Liberty tour. I found everyone in New York to be welcoming and very friendly. Across from the 911 memorial, I went to get some pizza and a reality TV star was there with his family. They were ahead of me and he felt bad, so he bought me lunch for my patience.
Every American should visit the 911 memorial. I have never felt so connected and emotional inside a building. The walls speak to you and there is a quiet understanding as you stand there and look upon the different pictures.