The morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was a typical one for me. I was living in Atlanta at the time. I woke up, got dressed, and headed to my job at a family-owned Professional Employer Organization (PEO). I started at the company as a recruiter for the temporary staffing division. After 2 years, I transferred to the payroll department. I loved my job and I worked with two of my closest friends. An hour and a half after my arrival at work, everything changed.
There are 5 personal things that I will never forget about that day…
1. When the Towers fell, I assumed that everyone in them had already been evacuated safely. My knowledge of the attacks that morning was limited. Another business, an investment group, shared our office space. That company’s owner had a TV in his office. People were going in and out of there all day to get updates. I only heard bits and pieces because ironically business was still going on as usual. I had a huge payroll to process. I learned the awful truth of the massive number of casualties on the radio later that day.
2. The day before marked the last time Hubby (my then-boyfriend) and I were able to sit together at an airport departure gate during our long-distance relationship. The terrorist attacks changed airport security forever. Hubby had flown into Atlanta from Indianapolis for a long weekend to surprise me for my birthday. He flew back on September 10th. If he had changed his plans and left a day later–which was not unusual for him or I to do given our long-distance relationship–he would have a) been stranded in Atlanta, b) had his plane grounded by FAA between ATL and Indy, or c) been in the air when the World Trade Center Towers were attacked.
3. I went down the street to run a quick errand around noon and there was an eery silence in the atmosphere. People and things all around seemed to be moving in slow motion. I’ll never forget that sound of no sound and that odd sensation of time standing still.
4. I was scheduled to fly home to Louisiana for my sister’s wedding that weekend. I had to rent a car and make the 8 hour drive because all U.S. flights were grounded indefinitely. There was no way I was going to miss being my little sister’s Maid of Honor.
5. My birthday was the next day.
I will always remember that 3,000 lives perished in four attacks on September 11, 2001.