It difficult to believe that September 11th, 2001 was so long ago that many people—depending on their ages—don’t remember that horrific day at all. In fact, some of our employees at Rocket Matter weren’t old enough to even be in school at the time.
For those who didn’t experience that day, it’s impossible to really describe what it was like for those of us who did (whether in person like I did in NYC or by watching the events unfold on TV). There was an increasing sense of terror as the day went on: First one plane hit the Twin Towers. Then another. Then the Pentagon gets hit. Then we watched the devastating collapse of the first tower. And another plane goes down in Pennsylvania. Then, less than an half an hour later, the second tower went down.
We didn’t know when it was going to end. Where would the next plane hit? What would be next? Would we be next? And in the coming days, on top of dealing with our collective national grief, would this be the new normal? A bioterrorist sent Anthrax through the postal system in the following months, and the government created a threat warning scale and would warn us that attacks were imminent.
My friend and attorney Randy Juip shared the following image which has been circulating on social media. It’s a poignant screenshot of an iPhone with alarms set for each tragic event that day:
I lived in New York on September 11th, 2001. I was downtown that morning and saw the second plane hit firsthand. Those first few weeks were surreal, but months, even years later, my wife and I would stop in our tracks and hold our breath every time a plane flew overhead. Every time we saw firetrucks speeding by, we’d wonder, “Was there another attack?” This was a very different way of living.
I’ll say one thing about the attacks eighteen years ago: It was the last time I saw the country truly come together. Of course, I would never want to see a return of the grief and terror of those days. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. However, I do miss the sense of citizenship, of everyone wanting to pitch in and help, and the sense of being truly united as Americans.