9/11/2001 I was on a multi-state training project delivering a class outside of Milwaukee soon to find out I was stuck, because all planes were grounded.
I have been feeling very introspective these last few days.
In addition to the obvious 9/11, I have a few long time friends with milestone birthdays and have seen classmates come together after many years. It's been jolting going through this time machine of happy, funny, sad, frustrating memories. Last night I literally and figuratively went down a winding road from my past, past things that I haven't seen in awhile. But all and all it's inspiring.
For me, this 15 year anniversary is significant because I can feel the time that has passed. Often I didn't. In 2001 I just had a few years experience in IT. I had a client right outside the towers and I lived in Newark so I travelled through there a lot. But on 9/11, while in Milwaukee someone came to tell me that the towers were attacked. I thought they were wrong so I finished my class. People kept asking me if I knew where they were. I was like yes I go through there a few times a week. We got the project team together and many people decided to head back home. We were from different places including Canada. But turns out we were going no where, at least not by plane. Over the next few days I opted to finish the training because I knew that my business was going to take a hit and I was stuck anyway. After that I was supposed to fly back to NY then out to Portland. Couldn't get to NY, so drove to Chicago, flew into LA stayed a night there, drove through Tehachapi, stayed a night there, up to San Francisco then flew to Portland. NO cell service except the one call I was able to make to my mom, Thank God. It was the 1 time she was happy her only child was travelling and not home.
During that time I learned I looked like an Algerian terrorist, because me and some man who looked like he could be Middle Eastern got pulled from lines at every airport and re-searched. When I finally got back I learned that my neighbors and a few of my friends thought I may have died in the towers because they couldn't reach me. I was met with a few tearful phone calls. I felt terrible. And politically this was the start of a long silence from many of the more outspoken activists I knew. America became more and more bigoted against Muslims, and anyone who could possibly be one. Wars ensued, terrorists groups gained power and American culture began to resemble 1930s Germany. And when I think about it all it feels like 15 seconds, but it has been 15 years.