Nine years ago, my wife and I were on our way to work in Syracuse. She worked at Leadership Greater Syracuse at the time, I worked at WSTM as a Video News Editor. It was a beautiful morning, a real hot one.
We were driving along the Onondaga Lake Parkway listening to Howard Stern on 95X when he reported that a plane hit one of the towers. We thought it was a joke, as always. You never knew with Howard.
I dropped Kelly off at her work and drove to the TV station. Imagine the horror to see the burning hull of one of the towers being shown on the screen.
The newsroom was a madhouse, producers trying to change their rundowns to the breaking news story at hand. Reporters making calls to 911 centers.
My immediate action was to just record everything while it happened. As I was looking for two hour tapes to hold me over for the next couple hours, the second plane would hit the tower.
In addition to monitoring the video, I would also monitor the Associated Press breaking news advisory on my computer. The news would be fast and quick over the next three hours.
“Plane hits the Pentagon”…”Plane crashes in a field just outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania”…”South Tower collapses”…”North Tower Collapses”.
We pulled nearly three days of 12 hour shifts covering the story. Even got a call from a representative from the US Army wanting to know my status and to be on standby in the event of an emergency, even though I was out of the service for 8 years. Seems like yesterday that we were all covering the story.
It was a moment I won’t soon forget.
Slowly, the area is coming back to life. A new World Trade Center site is being built on site. The plan includes a 1,776 feet Freedom Tower (now known as One World Trade Center) as well as a number of other office towers. Where the towers once stood will be a memorial. Bickering over the layout has delayed the construction.
Last weekend, my wife and I went to “Ground Zero” for the first time. For me, it was surreal. I grew up watching the two towers being built in Brooklyn. It was hard to believe the hole in the ground that used to hold the two structures.
But it was real. For me, reality sunk in. Nothing will be as it was. (Nada Será Como Antes) All I have are memories.
For the next couple of days, we will be adding musical tributes to our daily playlist in honor of those who perished on 9/11/2001.