I remember that day vividly.
Due to the unpredictable nature of my business, I usually fly everywhere I go, even if my destination is within driving distance, because I never know if I will need to fly out directly from where I am at that moment.
Bizarrely, for some inexplicable reason unknown to this day, I made an unusual decision to drive the three-hour trip east on Interstate 20 to Augusta instead of fly from the Atlanta area.
I was training several employees at a medical college on how to use their new equipment.
About an hour or so into the training, I received word third-hand about an airplane hitting one of the towers of the World Trade Center. As a native New Yorker who has flown into New York many times, I knew that the flight path into LaGuardia Airport sometimes had aircraft fly close to the World Trade Center on approach to land, so I figured this was an accident.
Then, in concurrent reports, I heard about the affected tower collapsing, the Pentagon being hit in Washington, D.C., another airplane crashing into the other tower, an aircraft being hijacked in Pennsylvania, the other tower collapsing…
…the horrible news just kept pouring in and mounting, to the point where we were listening to it via the radio as it happened.
Management at the college decided to pause for a few minutes and have everybody gather in one area to pray together. It seemed like World War III had begun, as we knew nothing about what was happening or why it was happening. All we knew is that life in the United States would never again be the same.
Difficult as it was, I managed to stay focused and complete the training.
Driving home was eerily creepy and surreal. There was virtually no traffic on the highways — not even in Atlanta during the height of “rush hour” at 5:00 in the afternoon — and the electronic overhead variable character signs emblazoned the words “Hartsfield Airport Closed — National Emergency”.
When I arrived home, I finally was able to see video footage of what happened that day. As a native New Yorker, I was furious when I found out that suicidal terrorists had struck and successfully destroyed parts of my “home”. I never wanted to be on top of the tallest buidling I could find or get on an aircraft as much as I did that day to show those terrorists around the world that I am not afraid. How dare they attack my home!!!
My only regret was not first stopping at the airport in Augusta to offer a ride to Atlanta to several passengers who were most likely stranded there due to air traffic in the United States being completely shut down in an unprecedented action.
FlyerTalk members personally experienced the horrors of that infamous day as well. As a close-knit community, worried about the well-being of each other, they posted in the now-legendary Tragedy Roll Call – Please Sign In thread.
smooth is a FlyerTalk member who posted “I am back in the air and it does not feel the same” five days later.
There are many other threads in a plethora of different FlyerTalk forums whose topic pertains to that fateful day five years ago tomorrow — too numerous to list here. However, do a Search on FlyerTalk for “9/11” or “September 11” in your favorite FlyerTalk forum or throughout FlyerTalk to find out the thoughts, opinions, facts and personal experiences about other FlyerTalk members pertaining to September 11, 2001.
May a day like that never happen again.