Motivated by General Geekery

Remembering 9/11

Written By: der5er - Sep• 11•07

Never Forget

On 9/11/01, I arrived at work at 6:00 AM Pacific time, my normal hours at the Switching technical support center for my previous employer.  I had listened to CDs on the way in, so I had no idea what was happening in the world.  My co-worker, whom I relieved after his night shift, answered the phone and told me that the Network Operations Center wanted me to get on a conference bridge.  Seems an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center and our switches in Manhattan were in overload.  In my mind, at that moment, I thought something small, like a Cessna.  I never could have imagined what was happening on the other side of the country right then.  There was no television in the office (that changed later), and the internet news sites were mostly blocked due to high volumes of traffic.   No doubt many other people stuck in offices trying to find out what was going on.  The only news report I was able to find was a video on of a local news reporter in New Jersey, with the towers in the background.   His report was a clear example that we had no idea what we were dealing with in the early hours of the attack.  As he is describing the scene, the second plane hits, and the only thing that comes to his mind is, “You have to wonder what is so wrong with our air traffic control system…”

I spent that day monitoring several conference calls.  One to keep the executives updated, one with the operations team in New York, one with our switching vendor monitoring the overloads, and one with the Wireless Emergency Response Team looking up phone records for 911 calls made from the area of the trade center. 

I found out about the first tower coming down from a switch tech a few blocks away from the Trade Center in the old port authority building, and I’ll never forget his words, “One of the towers just came down, the skyline will never be the same.”  Indeed, the skyline, and America, will never be the same. 

I worked twelve hours straight that day, and others came in to relieve me.  When I got home, I just watched the news coverage, something I’d seen little of during the day.  There was a father, passionately crying out for any information on his daughter.  Oddly, the daughter’s cell phone number was on the screen.  At sight of that number, my heart sank.  I had searched for that number.  I had found a 911 call for that number earlier in the day.  Of course, I only had the record that the call had been made, and the time, but not the tape of the call.  I called that father and told him what I had found.  He had been unable to obtain the 911 tape, but the time of the call (I hope) helped him in his quest.  I cried for him, as I thought of my own daughter playing in her room, staying away from the news coverage of this horrible day. 

That was my 9/11/01.  Never forget.

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  1. Barbara says:

    Thanks for making me cry, Greg.

  2. [...] September 11, 2001?  I do.  I always [...]

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