I was running late to work, stuck in traffic towards one of the two matching towers that I worked in. I've never much been a fan of pop music, so I
kept the dial pretty much on NPR/PRI 90.1 as 820 took me closer to Fort Worth, a man on the radio interrupted the current news story and began talking
about how a plane had just crashed into one of the World Trade Center. He didn't know much about what was going on... no one did. I winced
slightly... thinking there would be another controversy about some drunken pilot, and a bunch of media hubbub that turned an unfortunate tradgedy into
a circus sideshow. The reporter was about to sign off and turn the news back over to the news anchor when a very audible booming sound could be heard
through his microphone, and a few moments of nothing. An anxious news anchor asked if the reporter was okay. No response. They asked again after a few
seconds pause, and then the reported excitedly started saying that another plane had slammed into the neighboring tower. As traffic began to slow down
more and more, I remember thinking
"My... God. What are the odds? One in a billion? One in a trillion? What kind of freak luck that two planes would each fly into both of the World
Trade Center towers, and within mere minutes of each otherOhMyGoditwasn'tanaccident!!!"
And there 820 came to a stop, as realization dawned upon everyone else on the freeway. Some could no longer drive, they could only pull over and weep,
call a loved one, or sit there, confused and shocked. And through the windshield, I saw what I was headed towards...
Two matching towers, built by the Bass brothers, the financial center of Fort Worth, TX...and my workplace.
After a bit, people regained enough of their wits to drive. The reporters were now saying that the FAA had grounded all flights until further notice,
and the dread grew within me. Our CEO, a good man, who spent most of his time in the air in the company jet, whom I had the pleasure to meet and
admire, would be shot down if he didn't land. He wasn't one to keep abreast of the news, but was much more likely to either be asleep from hard
travelling, or in the middle of a meeting. I wanted nothing more than to go home, to turn my car around, buy up bottles of water and non-perishable
foods, and wait for the crisis to end, but I knew he had to be warned. As I stepped out of the car and walked towards the tower I worked in, I
wondered if at any moment, one of the many many planes circling the Metroplex might crash into the building I was about to enter.
As it turned out, the cause for concern over the CEO was unneccesary. His secretary had come in early and liked to keep the radio on. She'd gotten
ahold of him in time. And so my work day began, but the work did not. We crowded around the television, too shocked for words. As we watched, one of
the flaming towers collapsed. A lady behind me began to cry. Her husband was on business to the World Trade Center, and she did not know which tower
he was in. She prayed that he was not in the one that fell. We joined hands and prayed with her. Though I wasn't a Christian, it seemed the right
thing to do...
...that's when the second tower collapsed, and we could watch no more. Perhaps the Powers That Be found our prayers displeasing, or perhaps they just
wanted to give her a definite answer--I do not know which. It was a horrible feeling, and I wondered who I might know that would be in the Towers.
Eventually we got back to work. Not because anyone told us to, but because it was the only thing we could do to remain sane. We needed something to
keep us busy, to stop thinking about the fact that at any moment, we might join the victims of what would later be called 9/11.
I was assigned to installing DSLs that day, in people's homes. It was a huge relief, because it meant that once I finished the job, I could go home
that day, and there was only one to be installed. So I left, drove across the city until I got to my destination and set up our employee for DSL. I
made the obligatory call, expecting the "Head on home, we'll see you tomorrow" and instead was called back more towards what I was certain would be
my permanent resting place...
Four more times that day I was sent out, and called back, every time the Bass Towers looked more and more ominous. Every time a jet flew by (of which
there were many that day) I was certain one of them was headed for the building. As it turns out, none ever hit it, and that night, I returned home,
safe and sound, even if I was a nervous wreck.
There is more to the story, but it happened in later days, and is off-topic for the most part, so I shall end it here. I'm a grown man, 29 now, and
I'm not ashamed to admit it was the most terrifying day of my life. If it was terrifying for me, I can only imagine what it was like for those inside
the World Trade Center that day. How anyone could ever commit such an act is still beyond me to this day.