Normally I would have taken the 8:01 train to Penn Station and the subway to the World Trade Center.
But it was Tuesday, and on most Tuesday mornings I had a meeting with the contractors who were building my shul
. I was the president of the shul at that time and I would meet with a couple of our people, the general contractor and representatives of the trades that were working on the building at that time.
So, after shachris I walked into the contractor's trailer only to discover that there was no meeting scheduled for that week. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to shmooze with Doug, the project manager and tour the project itself. I had started out knowing less than nothing about construction but now found myself discussing the intracacies of the project with Doug. I liked what I saw.
I decided to take a later train; something around 8:30 if my memory serves. I walked to the station, only a block away from the shul. As the train was pulling in, I realized that I had forgotten my overnight bag in my car. I was scheduled to fly to Atlanta that night. Angry at myself, I went back to the car and decided to wait for the next train, the 9:06.
A few minutes before nine I walked back to the train, overnight bag in tow. As I got to the track, I overheard someone talking about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Very peculiar. I had time so I ran back to my car and turned on the radio. When I heard what happened I realized I wasn't getting on any train that morning. My office was across the street from the WTC so I was sure they would be shutting down the area. Just as I was about to turn the car on and head back home, the radio announcer said that a second plane had just crashed into the other tower.
I sat in utter disbelief for a few minutes. The reports were sketchy and I didn't really know what was going on. The only thing I knew was that everything had changed.
I drove home and frantically tried to call MHW on her cell. For all she knew, I was downtown. No cell service. I called the kids' schools and asked them to tell my kids that I was ok.
MHW finally walked into the house at about 11:30. She, too, had been trying to reach my cell to no avail but had no idea that I was at home, safe. I also tried to reach work. No answer. I tried emailing everyone on my new blackberry but the email wasn't working either. I assumed that everyone had been evacuated and hoped that everyone was safe.
Like so many others, I spent the day following the news. I remember the sinking feeling I had when the Towers went down. The absolute shock. I worried about the many people I knew who worked downtown. I also thought about how fortunate I was not to have followed my regular schedule. I wondered what this all meant. I still do.
Labels: Random Thoughts