Monday, September 11, 2006


Where were you?

We’ll be asking each other all day.

And we’ll hear mostly ordinary stories. I was working out. I was at home watching the news. I was on my way to work.

Ordinary moments made unforgettable by men we didn’t know who hated us because of where we live and what we believe.
I was listening to WLS on my way to an appointment with my chiropractor.

The morning DJs Don Wade and Roma were talking to someone in New York. I distinctly remember hearing “probably some idiot in a Cessna” when the man on the phone starting screaming.

The memory still gives me chills.

He was screaming because he just saw United Airlines Flight 175 hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.
Later, at my office in Schaumburg, everyone was glued to that infernal TV in the conference room. Some of the women were crying. It was very quiet.

I couldn’t stay in that room. I don’t know why. I just didn’t want to be in there.

So I’d wander back to my desk, look at the crisp Chicago skyline to the east and wonder what was happening next.

Each time I went back to the TV, it was chaos. That giant billow of smoke from one tower crashing. And then the next.

I waited until 10:30 before heading home. There was no point in working.
It’s been five years. And it’s no surprise that the good things are what I’m remembering most.

I liked having that little American flag in the back window of my car.

I liked that there was solidarity here for a time.

I liked being reminded that there are heroes among us – everyday people placed in extraordinary circumstances whose instinct tells them to give up their own lives for the safety of others.

I liked the fragile kindness that encapsulated everything we did during those few precious weeks after the attack.

I wish we could get that back.

And I really wish it didn’t take acts of hatred to make us love each other a little more.
I am listening to: CNN streaming 9/11 coverage
I am reading: The World is Flat (finally got back to it yesterday)
And I am: Quiet