I was on a newsfast, but I heard about it before the second plane hit. I was on my way to a work meeting downtown. I turned on the radio and the DJs on X96 said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I immediately broke my newsfast and turned the radio to KSL 1160 AM to get the full story. I continued driving to the company meeting.
The news spread fast among us. We all knew. We wondered if our company would go ahead with the company meeting.
They didn’t even mention what was happening in New York. By then, the second plane had hit and there were rumors of a third plane. I used my cellphone to get headlines from CNN, but it was painfully slow back then. Even now I’m amazed at what that little Motorola StarTac could do back then. I sat in utter awe that our company wasn’t going to say anything. They called up the motivational speaker to the stage. He accepted the lackluster applause and said, “I’m sure a lot of you are worried about what’s going on in New York. I decided that I’m not going to let the terrorists stop me. If I spend time worrying about what just happened, then the terrorists win.”
He went on to give the motivational speech that he was paid to deliver, but I don’t remember one word of it. As soon as he was done and our company leaders took the stage again, I walked out of the auditorium. By then, my phone fed me the rumors that the Pentagon had been hit and there was another plane that might need to be shot down. I wasn’t about to listen to a word more.
I found a television in a back room of Little America. Employees of the hotel and my company were huddled together in that room, watching the first plane hit the building, then the second. They kept showing the footage over and over. The smoke came out of the buildings and I remember hearing an interview with Orrin Hatch accusing Osama Bin Laden of this atrocity. I shook my head. I was sure that it was home-grown terrorists, just like the Oklahoma City Bombing.
I thought foreign terrorists would attack us in our tender spots. They would want to destroy the landmarks that we, as Americans, hold dear and the spots that represent our evil, materialistic ways: Disneyland, the Mall of America, the Statue of Liberty, and The Smithsonian. The WTC and the Pentagon? That sounded like something the ethnocentric militias of the Midwest would attack. Silly me.
I had work that day and my clients called to make sure I was still going to be there for them. I was. They would have been homeless if I had let despair conquer me, so I made sure the terrorists didn’t win in my small part of the world.
I came home to watch the planes hit the towers over and over again on CNN. I told Mike how the company that I worked for didn’t even mention the attack.
I quit working for them before the anniversary of the event.