Ten years ago today.
Everyone has a story, so here is mine.
I was working for EMC as a technical instructor. Teaching customer service techs about the Symetrix storage equipment.
The Tuesday 4 Sept was the day after Labor Day. My boss called me into his office and shut the door. He told me that a coworker was in the hospital. He played golf on Labor Day. Got himself dehydrated, the dumb ass. He was supposed to go to Singapore to teach the next week. I was asked if I could change my plans and fly to Singapore on Thursday 6 Sept.
I think you can see where this is going.
On 11 September 2001 I was teaching a five day class and I had a class the next week.
Singapore is 12 hours ahead of Eastern time, so I finish the class, call my wife and went to dinner. I decided to go to the Hard Rock cafe. When I am travelling I get a Pin, just something I do. I had dinner, walked around, picked up a magazine and went back to the Pan Pacific Hotel. I got back to the room about 8:50 pm.
Singapore is a business city. MSNBC was live from the NY for the stock exchange every night. I watched it the previous night. I turned the TV on and change to MSNBC. You know what I saw. I knew that it wasn’t a bomb in the first tower hit. I watched the 2nd tower get hit. I was as alone as you can get. Closing the airspace. Washington DC being attacked. The towers falling. The nightmare shots of ground zero and the search for survivors.
I went between CNN and MSNBC all night. I couldn’t get to sleep. I taught the class for the rest of the week. I was a little nervous. The Singapore airport was a few miles away that I could see out of the window. I was on the twenty second floor of a five tower business complex. For almost ten days I did my job without knowing how or when I was getting home. My boss called to make sure I was alright and told me not to worry about the expenses. I had a blank check for food and drink. Honestly, I spent extra time at the hotel piano bar, just for a Bourbon or two… Talking to my wife was mostly trying to calm her down.
By far one of the strangest parts was flying home on Sept 22. The professional actions of the flight crew and their quiet worries they had. How empty the plane was. The changes in the airports. Singapore, Tokyo, San Francisco and Boston was so different. Armed guards, the lack of people and the looks on everyone’s faces.
I am old enough to remember the assassinations of John & Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King as if they happened yesterday. The Challenger explosions is another event that is burned in the collective memory. 9/11 is the latest traumatic memory.