Eight years, and it is still fresh in my mind. I guess it always will be, barring dementia or Alzheimer's and I don't mean that lightly.
It was a Tuesday morning and I was sitting in my home office at my computer doing work on a job I had contracted. I had finished eating breakfast at the desk and had the TV, which sat on an six foot high elevated stand on the other side of the office, tuned to Good Morning America. (That link is an archive of the last 45 minutes of the show) I was immersed in my work, but I jerked my head up to look when I heard Diane Sawyer say that one of the Twin Towers was on fire in the upper floors and that there was an unsubstantiated report that a plane had hit the building.
I suppose, like most people that morning, my first thought was that some poor pilot of a small airplane had perhaps passed out or suffered a heart attack and flew into the tower. But then looking at the amount of smoke, flame and holes in the building made it difficult to reconcile that amount of damage with a small airplane.
By now I had left my desk and was standing directly in front of the TV. Charles Gibson was with Diane and he was filling air time by talking about where the Towers were in Manhattan, how badly the tower was burning and mentioning again the unsubstantiated report that a plane had hit the Tower. I was just about to switch to CNN to see if they had any different details when I saw the jetliner fly into view from the right side of the TV screen, disappear behind the second tower and then the resulting fireball that erupted when the jet crashed into the second tower.
A feeling of unbelievable horror and sadness began in my stomach and radiated upward, while at the exact same moment came the almost unbelievable realization that someone had done this on purpose. The very thought boggled the mind, but the evidence had just flown across my screen and into the Tower. I stood there transfixed in unbelief for a few moments, barely hearing Charles Gibson say what I and anyone watching already knew; that the planes had been flown into the Twin Towers on purpose.
I would spend the rest of the day watching various TV and Internet reports, learning of the jet flown into the Pentagon and the crash of the United flight in the Pennsylvania countryside, and talking to family and friends on the phone. It was a day of mind-numbing sadness, despair and coping to understand the hearts and minds of people who would do such things, yet I clearly remember those first few moments.
To all the innocent victims who perished, their families, friends and loved ones...we will never forget.