I was working on a deadline for a client and didn’t have a TV when I first heard the news. However, I was constantly on the internet and the news grew worse – a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers, then another. The towers were ablaze. Firefighters were trying to put out the flames. Then, the terrible news that first one, then the other tower had collapsed. And that the Pentagon had been hit, too. Then, the reports from Pennsylvania – that passengers had averted an attack on the White House or Congress.
In the hours of shock that followed, I remember the incredible flood of concern from around the world. Photos came across from Red Square in Moscow, the Vatican, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Tokyo – of everyday people stunned by the news and gathering outside U.S. embassies and consulates, leaving flowers and cards of remembrance. In Berlin, a crowd sang the Star Spangled Banner.
When my kids got home from school, I remember showing them a photo of myself at age 23 standing atop one of the towers. It had been a Sunday morning in 1976. The son of the managing editor where I worked and I were traveling around the U.S. writing a series called the “Bicentennial Summer Tour.”
Now, it seemed impossible that the towers were gone.
To this day, I find myself looking away when an old TV show or movie shows them on the New York City skyline. It’s too painful a reminder of a terrible day when evil seemed to triumph.