It started like any other day. I hated getting up early and going to work. I was eager for the weekend though it was only the beginning of the week. Same old same old. My mom drove me to work and I headed in.
At the time I worked in Burlington, New Jersey as a corporate auditor. I slid my id card through the time clock and headed to my desk to start the day. I fired up the computer and pulled out the first batch of reports I'd be working on. Then I attempted, and let me stress that word attempted, to get into the audits program.
Much to my surprise and everyone else's in my department, we couldn't get in. Oh boy what could possibly be wrong? Tech was called and we all spent quite a bit of time walking around while tech worked on our computers. Because of this, most of us, actually all of us had no clue about the drama unfolding in New York. Then, at 10 am while our computers were still acting like something out of the Twilight Zone, my boss's husband called her at work.
His news wasn't good. The towers had been hit. Now we knew why our computers weren't working. The network was based in a building around the corner from the two towers. The techs managed to hook us up to another network line so we could work, but in that time we learned both towers had fallen and that bridges were being closed. Every employee who lived in Pennsylvania was released so they could get home before the shutdown.
I went to the employee cafeteria to find out what was going on and that's when it happened. We learned of a plane going down in Pennsylvania. No news about exactly where and I hit panic mode. My mom and I both live right outside Philadelphia and since I didn't know where the plane went down I frantically try calling her. Nothing, no answer. The phone just rang and rang.
I tried again and again all through the afternoon. I was sick with worry. I emailed her from my work computer. Still nothing. The fear was just eating at me. Finally at 3 in the afternoon I get an email from her. She's okay. The plane didn't go down anywhere near her. I just felt this huge wave of relief. I didn't dare stand because I don't think my legs would have supported me. I just broke down at work and cried.
When 5 came and she picked me up I'd never been so happy to see her in my life. But then we got home and I got to see the actual footage of what had happened. The images of people jumping from the top of the towers rather than burning to death broke me. I didn't stop crying all night.
It was early in the week. I had several more days of work to get through. The next day it felt weird to just about everyone at work. We were all quiet and subdued. There was no joking. I actually didn't even feel like myself. I was numb, there's no other way to describe it. That went on for days. It was like I was just going through the motions.
I got lucky on 9/11. My mom and brother were both unharmed. But so many people lost loved ones that day. No matter how many years pass, every time the anniversary comes up I still feel that weird kind of numbness. I'll never forget where I was and what I was doing on that day. The irony is the building that is at the center of the mosque controversy in New York is the building that once housed my former company's network that wasn't working that day. It just makes it even stranger.
To everyone affected that day either with loss or just the fear of loss as was my case, you are all in my heart and prayers. We will NEVER forget.