reply to post by SkepticOverlord
I was working at the public library in my hometown in PA as a bookmobile librarian. The library had three bookmobiles that served different areas and
demographics. The one I drove (a converted "bread truck") served the senior centers, retirement communities, and nursing homes. It was an awesome
job and I had fond friendships with many of the regular customers I saw each week.
The library didn't have enough space to keep the bookmobiles parked at the library, so they rented parking spaces for them a couple of miles away at
a factory in an industrial park. My first stop of the day was scheduled for 9:45am. I was just turning into the parking lot at about 9:10am when the
announcer on the local radio morning show I had been listening to abruptly stopped the music and broke in with a frantic report that two commercial
jet airplanes had crashed into the twin towers and that it was likely an act of terrorism.
Trembling and instantly sobbing and sickened, I parked next to the bookmobile and called the library on my cellphone. I kept getting a busy signal or
the phone would just ring without anyone picking up. Finally after about 8 attempts, one of my co-workers answered. It was a very difficult
conversation. Just as I would start to speak, so would she. Neither of us was making sense. Finally we stopped talking for a few seconds and calmed
down enough to understand each other. Yes, the library was going to remain open and I should go ahead and make my scheduled stops with the bookmobile.
And then I suddenly remembered that my supervisor, who I was close with, had a younger sister who worked at the WTC. At this point, I think I started
almost wailing. My co-worker, who had also started crying again, told me that the library director and a couple of other staff members were taking her
home and were staying with her while she waited for news about her sister.
I then called my sister and my parents who lived nearby to tell them to turn on the television and told them I would call them again after I got the
bookmobile on the road. I turned on the rarely used radio on board the bookmobile to the only station it received, an AM talk radio station. They had
switched from their normal broadcast program to a live news feed from the street near the WTC (think it might have been NBC). With the radio on, I
proceeded to drive to my first stop for the day.
I remember hearing about the Pentagon, live, as it happened, while driving down the road to that first 10:45am stop. At that first stop, I remember
clasping hands with my dear bookmobile friends and holding onto each other as they stood there with me and listened as Flight 93 crashed and the
towers came down. I remember the tears streaming down the faces of the Seniors who I saw at my stops that day. At some point at that first stop, I
remembered that a dear college friend of mine worked in one of the towers at a financial services firm and that another dear college friend worked at
a clothing store "across the street" from the WTC. After that first stop I am aware that I completed my rounds for the day, but the remaining
details are blurry. The one thing I do remember clearly was hearing my bookmobile friends at the different stops tearfully repeating the same words
over and over: "This is your generation's Pearl Harbor." And they were all so grateful that I had kept my schedule and showed up that day for the
sheer sake of the normalcy of it.
My supervisor's sister survived. She worked on one of the lower floors of the South Tower and had been there for the earlier attack in 1993, so she
decided not to take any chances and left of her own accord immediately after the first plane hit.
My friend who worked in the North Tower was a fearful and nervous person by nature, and he was so shaken by the crash of the first plane into the
South Tower that he decided to get out of the North Tower before the second plane even hit it, before anyone even knew the second plane was headed for
the North Tower. Back in college, we used to tease him about being a scaredy-cat and a worry-wart, but his overly anxious nature saved his life that
day. He is one of the few survivors from his firm which was on a floor above the impact zone of the second plane.
My college chum who worked across the street at the clothing store had called in sick to work that day. As it turns out, she had spent the weekend at
her parent's house across the bay in 'Jersey and was playing hookey to spend another day there at the beach.
I will never forget that day. Despite the pain we all experienced as we witnessed what many thought might be the end of the world, and admidst the
horror, devastation, and unfathomable loss, there were miracles that day in NYC, DC, and PA.