I remember as a child anytime someone would speak of President Kennedy they would always add that they remembered where they were and what they were doing when he was assassinated. As a young person, those statements had no real meaning.
September 11, 2001 brought meaning to those words. I was at the Best Buy in Albany NY. My Operations partner Sara and I had flown in Sunday morning for the physical Inventory Sunday night. We woke up early Monday morning and headed to the store to help begin the reconciliation process. I had been in the warehouse unaware of anything happening until I walked into the employee break room where I found a few employees watching television. They told me that there had been an accident and a plane had hit the World Trade Center tower. As I stood there, the second plane hit. I still recall the chill I felt, the shock, the looks we shared because we all knew that this had been no accident.
The next few hours become more blurred. Employees who had family member in NY city. Changing all of the televisions to live news and setting up chairs for customers to sit. My mother finally getting a hold of me, in tears. I remember telling her I was sorry I had not called but I was not in NYC.
We were due to fly home later in the day which of course could not happen since air travel was shut down. We ended up in a dumpy motel in a not so nice nearby city. We shared a room and took shifts throughout the night watching the television hoping survivors would be found. This was not intentional it kind of just happened. The next morning we drove our rental car home. Driving into the silent airport is another feeling I will never forget.
We would like to pound our chest and say that the cowards who attacked civilians going to work did not change us, but that is not true. We have cameras on every corners watching our every move. We are molested while trying to board an airplane. We hand over our personal belongings for search as we enter any large public venue.
Interviews are done with people who always say similar things about they do not mind a little inconvenience if it makes them safer. But is it any safer really? As people were taking off their shoes in the Philly airport in March, a drunk out of control man drove his car right through security fences onto the runway of the airport. Last week the current boyfriend of a woman mad about the actions of an ex called in a fake bomb threat to a plane the ex was on. The plane full of people traveling to Texas had to be turned around and searched. Millions of dollars spent on cameras that no one watches or do not work. A study done over the summer showed half of the cameras in a Philadelphia did not function properly.
The buildings at ground zero are still not completed due to labor and political issues and the museum still not open due to political and religious disagreement . And we still refer to it as “Ground Zero”.