Where were you six years ago?
That morning, I went to work early, as I usually did, to eat breakfast at the office and take my time preparing for my day in the call center. That doesn't usually involve television, and any websurfing I did took place before 7 am CT. By the time the first plane took off from Logan Airport, the normal routine of measurement review and staff meetings had already started for me.
The first time I heard that anything was wrong on that day was a phone call from the First Mate. She told me about the first plane crash, and at first I assumed it had been caused by poor visibility in New York. A co-worker then told me about news of a second crash, and I knew that we had been hit by a terrorist attack.
As I wrote three years ago:
Work came to a halt, at least as much as possible in our line of work. I rushed to check on our clients in the WTC and found out that none of them had arrived at work before the attack, and then spent most of the day watching the TV, seeing the images of people fleeing while New York firefighters and police officers ran into the maelstrom. I remember the disbelief we all felt when the towers collapsed, first one and shortly afterwards the other.
I remember the feeling of utter helplessness, momentarily alleviated when we heard about the heroes of Flight 93 who turned their deaths into the only triumph we had that black day. Rumors of the people who died on the planes; was it really possible that Barbara Olson, who we'd all seen on television, died at the Pentagon? What about the producers of Frasier? How many died in the WTC collapse? Ten thousand? Twenty?
In the days to come, more and more of the story fell into place, the helplessness morphed into anger and determination. Determination that we should never forget, and never surrender to the terror. But not that day. All I felt that day was shock, fear, and horror. The terrorists won that day. And I want to make sure that 9/11 remains the only day they can claim.
Three years later, the terrorists still have not claimed another day. There may come a day that belongs to them, but every morning since 9/11 we have been able to say, Today is not that day. Thanks to the men and women in our armed forces, intelligence, and law-enforcement agencies, we have continued to say that.
What do you remember most about 9/11? How will you remember the anniversary of the worst attack on American soil today?
UPDATE II: BlogTalkRadio has its own remembrance, from CEO (and New Yorker) Alan Levy.
UPDATE III: SeeJaneMom remembers Beslan. The most moving part is the picture of a young mother gently caressing the hair of her dead toddler, and Jane says, "This mother didn't have a "Beslan" to prepare her for the Hell and fury of Islamofacism. You do."
UPDATE IV: Jules Crittenden has an excellent roundup.