As well all do, I remember this day, eight years ago, very distinctly; down to the minute. I was driving from Benbrook to west Fort Worth heading to work. I was at the light of Vickery and Horne, when I heard on the radio that something had happened. A plane had crashed into a building. That is all we knew at that point. The world thought it was a tragic accident? An aircraft malfunction? A misroute?
It wasn’t until I got to work among all of my stunned co-workers when the second plane hit. Then, we knew it was no accident. Hearts sank as we watched the burning of the building. The frantic response of the FDNY, and the NYPD. The people streaming from the streets, displaced and in shock.
I remember the phones were completely silent. Not one single call. The world was watching a tragedy unfold.
News of the hijacked planes in the air, the crashing of one in the Pennsylvania field. The crashing of another into the Pentagon. It seemed it would never end. How in the world did this happen? The FAA grounded all planes. At that point, we were desperate to check all of our live records to see if we had anyone in danger of being on board one of the hijacked planes or a possible hijacked plane.
We did not.
I remember waiting, with breath held, as they tried to get in contact with one other plane that was enroute to LAX. It would have had a lot of fuel coming from the east. We waited to see what it might devastate. Finally, confirmation came that it was not hijacked.
The towers tumbled down as America watched in horror. The crashing and burning of those buildings matched the ache in our souls, for all the lost, the unaccounted for, and the emergency responders. America would never be the same. We were crippled. We were so unprepared.
The rest of the day, the rest of the week, and month. My job was to move people, from plane to plane, who were trying to get home. Refunding tickets of those, too afraid, to travel on a plane. Booking rental cars, from as far as California, to drive to Texas, or Illinois; wherever they were just to get home and be with their families.
The travel industry itself came to a standstill. In that month, after 9/11, our agency refunded over 41,000 dollars and had no revenue. To this day, I still cringe booking a flight for a client traveling on 9/11. Never Forget.
Yes, I remember that day. I will never forget those lives lost. Those hearts broken. The absolute battering of our country’s spirit.
I am glad I can stand proud, despite it all. Our flags still fly. Our spirits are still strong. Our military still fight. God strengthened us as a country. Today, it is safer to fly in an airplane than ever before. We learned the true meaning of a hero. We still stand as one. When our country stops remembering, that is when all is for naught. We must stay strong and keep their memories alive.
Honor and remember those brave and those lost on this anniversary.
May God bless you. May God bless and comfort those hurting.