Sunday marks ten years since the 9/11 terror attacks. Am I alone in being astonished that a decade has passed since that unforgettable day?
September 11th is one of those days where people who of a certain age will always remember where they were when they heard about the terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington D.C. and the crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
I remember where I was.
On September 11, 2001, I was a senior in college at the University of Missouri. I was packed and nearly ready to catch a flight to Tennessee, where the Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) Conference was preparing to get underway. I had won a scholarship to attend the conference, and I was so excited. All I had to do was stop by KOMU-TV in Columbia, MO, add a few reports to my tape of news stories to share with others at the conference and catch a flight. And I needed to call my sister in Chicago and my dear friend in Ohio to wish them happy birthday.
In my room, I had a tiny little Sony Watchman with a black and white screen that was no more than five by five inches. I was putting on my makeup while listening to the Today Show. They went to commercial break, saying they would be interviewing Ted Kennedy when they came back (Note: if you were watching Today on the East Coast when the attack happened, you would have seen a different segment...I was in the central time zone, so the show's timing was a little different). When they returned from break, there was no interview. There was the report that "something had happened" at the World Trade Center in New York City. No one really understood why a plane would go so off course to fly into a building. Matt Lauer and Katie Couric were talking to an NBC producer on the phone on the air who could see the World Trade Center from her home, and I will never forget the sound of the woman's voice shrieking and saying another plane had hit the other tower. Never.
I drove out to KOMU, but intead of preparing for my trip, we were all in full news coverage mode. I spent part of the day interviewing a tearful friend who, like so many others, could not get in touch with a relative in New York City. The phone lines were jammed all day. Fortunately, her family turned out to be alright, but we didn't know that until at least the next day.
That night in the newsroom was busier than an election night. Every available person was working. KOMU is staffed by some professors, some professional tv broadcasters, but mostly students from the university. We all grew up a lot that day. I didn't go to Nashville for the conference that day, or even that month. The conference I was so looking forward to was rescheduled. September 11th happened when several news directors were already in Nashville for the conference and were desperately trying to get back to their newsrooms to cover the biggest news story, ever, and while flights were grounded at every airport.
I don't remember what my "happy birthday" conversations were like with my sister or friend that day. I do remember seeing a U.S. flag going up in the window of a coffee shop that all the students loved. The name of it was Osama's. I also remember a friend getting scared when a military jet did a fly-by (a scheduled one) at a football game a few weeks later. She thought we were under attack. Those were two of the tiny memories I have that the world was not the same after 9/11.
I hope you use this blog forum as a place to share your memories of 9/11/01. We may share some of them on the air with viewers on Friday morning.