9/11 Memories

I was working at the College of Pharmacy in Lexington, Kentucky.  We had a press conference scheduled that morning, so the news crew was in our building. When the first plane hit, they needed them back, so they called me in the Dean’s office.  I was probably the first person in the building to know something had happened, but of course no clue what.

I found the crew and sent them on their way, then we got news of the second plane and of course nothing was the same. I scrambled to get a TV up in the Dean’s conference room for anyone that wanted to watch.  Who knew we could get that many people in the room.

My daughter was home sick that day and I had made her an appointment, so she began the conduit.  She was on the phone to me and her father, who had moved back to North Carolina ahead of us because of his job. She was too young for it, but we were in touch with each other nearly constantly – it wasn’t like any work was going to get done.

We had a candidate for a professor’s position in that day, Dr. Hussain.  He was the younger brother of another of our professors and a very nice man, but that day was not the right day.  He was supposed to give his presentation at 1 p.m. but not many people were interested, so it was lightly attended.  Afterwards, he really didn’t have any place to be and wasn’t comfortable in the room watching the news, so he ended up in my office.  We talked about how he was going to get back to New York with all planes grounded.  He said something about renting a car and I suggested he stay with his brother because the planes couldn’t stay grounded long.

He looked me in the eye and asked, “Would you fly on a plane with me?”

I met his eyes and said, “Yes sir, I would. But I hear what you’re saying.”

He just sat and watched me work for awhile, then wandered off.  I felt so sorry for him, because he hadn’t done a thing, but his appearance made him a target.

I came home as soon as possible after the doctor’s appointment, and of course turned on the TV.  I watched what happened over and over again – probably not smart but how could you stop? Peter Jennings and I made it through the night together. I still miss Peter – we became friends that night.

I was able to get in touch with people – my cousin in DC. She had been on the Metro and supposed to get off at the Pentagon station, but of course the train didn’t stop.  The Dean’s daughter lived in NY and worked near the tower.  She walked for hours to get somewhere she could check in, but she was okay.  Everyone else was “safe” but we all just needed to touch base.

My children now have their “day Kennedy was shot” or “Pearl Harbor” day.  I wish that had never happened.

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