September 10, 2006

9/11/2001 - Five Years Later: A Look Back

Rather than try to summarize the day and the ensuing five years, I thought I would slip into the e-mail archives to show my response to that day in a message to my father that evening. That's one benefit of holding onto e-mail like this - a stamp in time. Only names of specific people have been removed.

Today I woke up at 5:30 for the second day in a row (rougher for me than you), so that I could get into the office by 6:45, to prepare for the Web seminar by 7, and hold the two sessions at 8 and 10. By 6:10 I learned of the first jetliner crashing into the World Trade Center, and watched CNN live as the second jet flew into the second tower, much to my bewilderment.

I of course assumed that both planes were empty, outside of a rogue pilot and crew, but could not fathom that they were hijacked commercial liners, full of people. That was unbelievable. As I still intended to get to the office on time, the plethora of news began to billow - two more planes unaccounted for, an explosion at the Pentagon...

I got in the car, and listened to KGO 810 as the news unfolded. Traffic was usual for that time of the morning, but it seemed everyone was doing as I was - listening to the radio, staring blankly ahead. There were fewer lane changes, and our speed seemed steady, more so than normal.

Getting to the office, I set up camp in the conference room and tried to contact this morning's presenters in the UK, to no avail. All lines were blocked. I talked with Global Crossing, our conferencing provider, and learned that our conference calls would not be allowed - that all lines had been allocated for the US government and emergency services' use. I had no choice but to cancel both sessions, and e-mail all 150 registrants of our decision, kissing $35,000 of our eMarketing promotion budget away with the seminars' cancellation.

Following that, I tried to stay focused on work, communicating with (NAME) regarding our product demonstration Flash piece, but little else got done. A TV was set up in one conference room, and executives and peons alike stopped to gander at the horror that was New York. (The Company) was eventually closed by 2, in a surreal day that saw ZERO calls to our front desk, and Web traffic similar to that of a holiday such as July 4.

That day coincided with what was supposed to be a big marketing effort for us, so beyond the horrific human element, I had tried to push forward as a good corporate citizen and do the best I could. Though we recognized the disaster, we didn't recognize the scope of it until the conference provider flat-out denied us use of the conference lines needed for the seminar. Though we were at war with an unknown enemy, we didn't see the full  impact until the towers themselves fell. Even our Web designer, in San Francisco, stopped taking calls from me after he was forced to evacuate the city. It was a day we'll not ever forget, even though were removed 3,000+ miles from the bloodshed.

Listening to ''Another World'', by DJ Shog (Play Count: 5)