I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the first news.
We had just moved into our first house the previous weekend and everything was still pushed away from the walls while we were still painting. I was almost to work when the sports talk radio show cut in to say a plane had hit one of the towers. Once I got into the office, my boss had the TV on. Needless to say, we didn’t do anything but just watch the reporting. I didn’t instantly realize the significance of the event (after the planes hit, before the towers collapsed), until I went back to my desk. Our office was one block off the ocean at Jacksonville Beach and my desk had a clear view of the ocean. We were a few miles south of Mayport, a US Naval port which at the time had a carrier group in port. It finally hit me when I saw the entire carrier group sailing out to sea. For those who don’t live in a military town or familiar with this stuff, unless it is a regular deployment, the ships are only sent out urgently in time of war. Not long after, the towers fell and news came of the Pentagon crash and the Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.
All signs pointed to it being a major event. You couldn’t get any of the news Web sites to respond… CNN finally started just returning just the basic text & links. Cell towers were overwhelmed as I couldn’t reach my wife who worked downtown next to the biggest skyscraper in Jacksonville (hey, we had no idea what the scope of the event at that time).
Every night for the rest of the week my wife and I sat planted in front of the TV watching the news updates as well as the interviews from those who were there.
It’s been five years, but it still seems like only yesterday. I’ll never forget.