9/11 Anniversary Stories

WI Staff | 9/6/2011, 1:25 a.m.
This Sunday marks the 10 anniversary of the tragic incidents of 9/11. The Washington...

"I woke up early on Sept. 11, 2011 because I was planning to fly to Cleveland to visit a friend and to tour the Cleveland Browns football facility for a freelance story on a D.C. pro football player. I was watching television, "Good Morning America" on ABC when, a litttle before 9 a.m., the show was interrupted with a news bulletin that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Freak accident, I thought.

Then it was reported that the second tower had been hit and the whole Trade Center was crumbling. Then I saw the image of the World Trade Center falling to the ground.

I was flabbergasted.

I immediately called the Washington Post, where I was working at the time. To my surprise, a sports copy editor colleague, Tom Heleba, answered the phone because copy editors in sports generally work in the evening. Tom told me that he was working on the special edition of the Post, which was released later that day, reporting on the fall of the World Trade Center, what happen at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania.

The airports were closed so I could not fly to Cleveland. The traffic in downtown Washington was the worse I had seen with cars and trucks backed up. The news was 24-7 on the attacks. My sister, Janet Fields, from Houston called me to ask if I was ok and I told her I was fine but things were crazy Janet told me that people were in such a frenzy in Houston, some parents were angry that schools would not be closed for the day.

"The schools should be closed!"" Janet said. "America is being attacked!" I could not help but to burst out laughing, thinking that Janet was approximateley 2000 away from the scenes of the attacks and people were talking about closing schools there?

I also spole with my cousin, Carol Porter, who lived in suburban Philadelphia in New Jersey, who agreed with me that if Al Gore had been elected president, the attacks would not have taken place.

That evening, I did nothing but watch television news and read the special edition of the Post. I knew that America would never be the same from then on."