9/11

I have to agree with Tam that its totally being overdone this year (not to mention this).  You can’t turn on the TV, to pretty much any channel, without SOMETHING doing 9/11 stuff.  I agree with need to remember, remember that the US isn’t invulnerable, and that we need to be ready to fight back.  Because of that reason I am going to share where I was that morning, to help ME remember.  But I’ll be avoiding the TV, and radio like a plague today.

Where I was, the morning of 9/11/01

I’d graduated from college that spring.  Was working at my new job, we’d been out of training all of a couple weeks.  I was working for John Hancock Signature Services.  JHSS was a subsidiary of John Hancock Mutual Funds.  All owned by the same folks, just the part of the company that handled customer service (that may have changed, I know they were doing some reorganizing about the same time I left).  Basically I took phone calls from people who wanted assistance with their mutual funds.  Opening accounts, adding money, withdrawing money, panicking over the stock market, that sorta thing.  I got into work that morning a bit early, which I usually did since I rode public transport into Boston (like any other sane person would do).

So by 8am I was logged into my computer and ready to take calls.  It was a slow morning, I’d only taken a few calls when just before 9am one of the guys who worked the 9am shift came running out of the elevator and yelled “A plane just hit one of the Twin Towers!!”

Not everyone heard him, but I wasn’t on a call at the time so I did.  Logged into CNN to see if there were any details, and there wasn’t much.  Not even what type of plane it was.  I figured it was some idiot with a beginners license who’d been showing off, and went back to reading my book while waiting for calls.  One of the supervisors also heard him though, and turned on his radio at his desk.  He had it quiet, but I was only a couple desks away, so I heard the announcer say “oh my god, a second plane has just hit the other tower…..”  I headed back for CNN, but had trouble getting the page to load, once it did, the image of the passenger jet just before it hit the tower was front and center.

The news spread like hot gossip around the building, the incoming calls simply stopped as the public realized what had happened and sat glued to their TVs and radios.  The supervisor with the radio turned it up.    When we heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon it was followed by the news that they were evacuating the Hancock Tower in Boston.  Everyone out, its considered a potential target.  Terrorists.  We weren’t in the Tower, we were located in a smaller building toward the outskirts of the city.  They weren’t, yet, going to evacuate us.

By this time the only incoming calls were from family of people who worked there, checking to make sure we were all ok.  I don’t remember when exactly we heard about flight 93, the Internet was overloaded with people trying to find out what happened, so likely it was somebodies radio that gave us the news.  We sat around doing basically nothing except staring out the window at the fuel carrier in the river right next door to us, and scanning the sky for planes headed our way.  The guy who worked one cubical over from me was supposed to have been into work at 11am, it was 11:45 before he showed up, he said traffic was horrendous as everyone tried to get home.  We informed him that he shouldn’t  have bothered to come in, they’d just announced they were sending us home at noon.  There was no point to keeping us there, the stock market hadn’t opened that morning, and no one was calling anyway.  Plus there was our safety to keep in mind.

My mother called me and told me not to bother with public transport, it was beyond overloaded, she’d meet me at the parking lot halfway between work and the T and drive me to my car.  As we were walking out the door, we were informed that at this time we were expected to show up for work the next day, and to expect to be asked  to work overtime, they expected a massive influx of calls from people panicking over their money.  If that changed due to a security problem they’d let us know.

I did NOT spend the rest of the day glued to the TV, though my parents did.  I caught the image of the towers collapsing though.  At that point I headed for my computer and started sending out emails to everyone I knew who was in the NY/DC area, and for the few who I didn’t know emails, to mutual friends asking for information.  Spent the rest of the day in shock I think.

Work the next few days was dead.  No overtime, cause hardly anyone called us.  The few who did were angry though because they were supposed to have received money from their account and didn’t.  Because the stock market wasn’t opening we couldn’t remove the funds from the accounts on schedule (its a rules/legal thing, I remember enough to explain if you really need me to, but not going to bother right now), and people were pissed.  It was close to a week before call volume picked up.  THEN we got overtime.

No one I knew personally was on the planes, or killed in the towers or Pentagon.  John Hancock as a company lost a VP who’d been on a plane though.  And my coworkers who worked directly with the brokers rather than the general public, were very familiar with many of the people who never made it out of the towers.  Thankfully none were actually on the phone with them at the time.

I don’t have any awesome words, or speeches, but it did teach me that the USA, as a country is not invulnerable, that we can be hit, and targeted, and that we need to be ready to fight back whenever necessary.


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