Everyone remembers where they were on “9/11”.

Fifteen years ago today, I sat in my office and watched (on TV) as a second plane flew into the World Trade Center in NYC. I watched in horror as the collective “we” realized our nation was under attack.

September 11, 2001 was primary day in New York State. I dashed out of work at noon and went to vote, then came back to the office. A few minutes later, the governor closed the polls. The primaries would be rescheduled.  (That was the year I voted for a certain candidate for mayor three times: twice in primaries and once in the general election.)

I worked in local TV at the time. You might think that local broadcasting had nothing to do on that awful day. But we did. People always call local newsrooms when there is a major breaking event. I didn’t work in the newsroom, although several of us took turns helping the news department answer the phones. I was in programming and was fielding my own share of viewer questions. The networks had suspended all programming for continuing coverage of breaking news. The behind-the-scenes non-news part of TV was a mess.

One phone call in particular has stuck with me. Memories of that phone call still have the power to infuriate me. I was polite to the caller, when the caller didn’t deserve politeness.

“So, are you going to air Big Brother or what?” (One of the things I love about my new Day Job is not having to answer phones.)

What are your memories of this horrific day?


8 thoughts on “Memories

  1. Gay Yellen says:

    Thanks for sharing this. My memory of the event is unremarkable, watching on TV in horror as most of us did. What I do remember is how we were afterward, collectively: acknowledging our common bond as a nation, coming together in grief, and afterward, being more kind and accepting of one another in our daily living. Not only do I mourn the great loss of life and the image of America the Invincible, I also mourn the love and caring we showed for each other, not matter where we lived or where we worshipped or what teams we rooted for, in the aftermath of the horror. For me, it’s a shame that we haven’t honored the memories of those who lost so much by continuing to honor the people we encounter everyday. It was a lesson learned and lost.

  2. Tema Merback says:

    I live in California and was watching the morning news as I got dressed. I watched in horror as the planes flew into the Twin Towers. I remember crying uncontrollably and thinking that there must be thousands of people in those buildings on a busy work day. I will never forget. I live close to Pepperdine University and every year since that horrific day, and every year going forward I am sure, the university mounts a flag of the country of origin for every person that died that day. Last night I drove by and the flags were up, beautifully lit on the vast lawn in front of the university. As always I was humbled and saddened remembering.

    • mj says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I didn’t know about Pepperdine’s tribute. Thank you for sharing the info. It sounds very touching.

  3. Tracey A Wood says:

    Hi MJ, I remember watching those terrible images in the UK. I was at home at the time and thought it was a movie I had flicked onto by mistake, it was so shocking. Our hearts went out to all involved and the devistation that was caused. That and the London bombings will never be forgotten. Neither will the people who lost their lives.

    • mj says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I remember seeing and hearing people in the UK singing the US national anthem a few days after the event, and crying because it was such a moving moment.

  4. Susan James Berger says:

    /11I am working on a book which will include time travel to 9/11.

    Where were you in NY MJ?
    I was in Los Angeles. At 6:30 AM the phone woke me. I was too sleep drowsed to make it to the phone. Ir stumbled to the answering machine and listened to my brother Alex’s message. “Turn on the TV. The world just changed forever. ”
    I turned on the TV in time to see the second plane hit. My brother worked 20 blocks from the trade center. 9/11 is my best friend Donna’s Birthday. Her husband, Bob, was late leaving for work at the WTC. He worked for the Port Authority. When the first plane hit, his co-worker at the Port Authority stopped every train and bus into NYC. One of the reasons far fewer people were in the building. I have a picture taken on nine eleven that haunts me. I will post it on Facebook today.

  5. mj says:

    I’m in upstate New York, Susan. Thank G*d for people like your friend’s husband’s co-worker at the Port Authority. Thanks for stopping by.

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