Recalling profound tragedy’s impact on us all

9/11 is seared into our memory. Most of us likely recall where we were when we heard the news.

I was at work the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 at the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News. A colleague came to work, stuck his head in my office and asked, “Did you hear the news? Someone flew an airplane into the World Trade Center?”

My first reaction? “What’s the weather like?” My colleague said it was clear and sunny in New York. “What kind of idiot would fly into a skyscraper?” I asked, rhetorically.

I turned on the TV. I watched the coverage of the burning WTC tower. Then the second plane plowed into the neighboring tower.

That … changed everything.

The entire nation knew at that moment we were under attack.

All of this occurred, of course, before the media were declared to be the “enemy of the people.” We all did what we do. We started gathering information, making phone calls to local sources to try to chronicle the events and their impact on our communities. We did that in Amarillo.

I won’t equate our efforts with those who ran into the burning buildings, but our attempt to keep our community informed of the events of the day were critical (a) to those who consume the news and (b) to those who seek to explain it.

I was proud to help provide some commentary, context and wishes of solidarity to the nation that was under siege from forces we hadn’t yet identified fully in the moment.

It was one of those days one never forgets.

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