The phone rang shortly after 7:50 AM CDT. My last day at work had been not too long before. I had been working for a firm with offices in New York and Tokyo, and my position was eliminated in August. So, at the end of August I had flown from Tokyo to New York City and cleaned out my office and came back to Overland Park. My severance check had been sizable, I had no meetings scheduled that morning and I was planning on sleeping in. My wife had taken the kids to school and was on the way to work herself.
"Turn on the TV, they just said on the radio that a plane crahed into the World Trade Center." I hung up the phone and reached for the remote. We, the family and I, had just been to the World Trade Center less than 6 months before. We had been planning on a relocation to the NYC area for my job, and the kids had all come out and we had done the tourist things. Actually, the WTC stop was just a spur of the moment idea. We had been out at Liberty Island and were walking north from Battery Park, when we passed the towers. One of the kids complained about being hungry, and someone suggested that we visit the towers and eat there. They were close, it was Sunday afternoon and it seemed like a good idea.
I turned on one of the cable news networks. Smoke was showing from WTC 1. I remember thinking that Newark was close, and it must have been a small plane either heading in or out of Newark that had some issue. Then I saw a close up and knew this wasn't a small plane. Still, I wondered if there had been some malfunction in an ILS system or Flight Management System that caused the crash.
At 8:03 CDT, I saw the second plane (Flight 175) flying too low and too fast on the TV Screen. For a slit second, I wondered what kind of computer malfunction could cause two accidents. Then I saw it hit.
I picked up my phone. I called my dad in Phoenix. I remember saying, "Turn on the TV… I think we are at war."
It has been seven years since that morning. Seven years of wins and losses in a war that may last for years to come. Today is a day to stop and remember. Remember where we were that morning. Remember what we thought. Remember those that we lost.
As we remember we must also fill ourselves with resolve. Terrorists started this that morning; Evil attacked us- but we MUST finish it- no matter what it takes. We must continue the fight.
We must always remember. We must NEVER Forget.
(Photos taken by Matt Carden, March 2001 from NY Harbor and from the Top of WTC2)