They say you always remember where you were when . . .
It was a perfect almost-fall morning — the sun shining, a beautiful blue sky above. At Record Publishing Co. in Stow, we were finishing up our weekly publications for Wednesday. A typical September Tuesday.
All of sudden word was going through our building — something was wrong in New York City.
A plane had struck one of the World Trade Center buildings.
We all started searching the web, looking at any and all news sites for updates. I remember calling my oldest daughter, who was at home in Akron with her then-3-year-old son.
“Turn on the TV,” I told her.
She asked what channel.
I replied, “Any, I don’t think it’s going to matter.”
And so began the disbelief, the questions, the despair, the horror, the fright, the overwhelming sadness of September 11, 2001.
It consumed all of our attention -— the sight of the burning building, the smoke contrasting against that bright blue sky and the line of skyscrapers of New York City. Then a moment of shock as news coverage of the impact caught a second plane suddenly striking the other tower. And then came reports of another plane crashing into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. And of a fourth disintegrating into the ground in a field in Pennsylvania.
And then the unfathomable sight of the two World Trade Center towers completely collapsing, debris raining down on people as they ran for their lives through smoke-choked streets.
At some point the realization hit us — these were no accidents.
The United States of America, our home, was under attack.
Almost 3,000 souls were lost that day — passengers on the doomed flights who were looking forward to getting home and seeing their families. People sitting at their desks doing tasks for what they thought would be a typical work day. The hundreds of first responders who put their own lives secondary to saving those trapped in the buildings.
I don’t remember what I did the rest of that work day. It all seems a blur 15 years later. But upon arriving home, I found myself glued to the TV, flipping channels to find out the latest and hoping someone could explain it, to make sense of what was happening.
But the truth is, there was no sense to be made of it.
Even to this day, the enormity of those events is still overwhelming. It changed the way we lived, the way we traveled, the way we looked at things.
Today we remember those whose lives were lost in those tragic morning hours. We honor those heroes who risked their own lives to help others. And we recall how people came together; more often than not as complete strangers, on one of our country’s darkest days, united in faith and strength and even hope.