I was working. Heard about the first plane hitting, and in an era of occasional transportation disasters we tend to be a little numbed if it is 400 miles away as the crow flies.. I didn’t really perk up the thought process, even with the tower being in a major metropolitan environment as NYC.
We had a supervisor meeting that had just ended, and someone ran by the hall way as I headed back to my office, saying a “second plane hit the other tower.” It was that point that I immediately recognized that things would likely never be the same again, and that we were at war.
I entered a conference room where a television was playing out repeatedly videos of the second plane hitting, and silence even with 8 or so of us staring at the screen was only broken momentarily by someone saying “I wouldn’t want to have caramel colored skin right now.” The silence that continued afterward belied the fact everyone in the room probably agreed, and was trying to figure out for themselves which terrorist group would claim responsibility for the act.
The reporting of the pentagon plane served as an amplifier, and the reports of the plane in PA also brought other mental questions like: “How many tall buildings will be hit,” and “how many cities are going to be attacked,” and “how did this happen?” After the quiet, the verbal questions came out;”how are we going to respond?,” and “who do we go after?” And the ultimate, “oh my god, how many people were in those buildings,” after watching them fall to the streets below.
The United States of America had at that time not seen anything on the main continent like the Attack on 9/11/2001, and hopefully will never again. We didn’t see it coming, because we have an inherent belief in the good of all people. This country, and too many others however, still underestimate the fundamentalist Radical Islamists, who will not rest until it does.