Some of you have heard this throughout the years since the attacks of September 11th, 2001. However, for those who have forgotten as our goal, each year is not to forget but remember that tragic day. An hour before the first commercial jetliner hit the South Tower I had just gotten off Topeka Transit’s West 21st at 8th & Kansas as Quincy Street Station, currently at 820 SE Quincy Street was in the process of purchased by TMTA.
My office for NateDog Productions was on the ninth floor of the Kansan Towers overlooking Kansas Avenue and 9th Street. For only being in business just over one year, I was in the studio working on mastering audio for a radio spot for a client with the great State of Kansas capital off my left shoulder. I remember the temperatures were crisp that morning as one of the studio windows was open. I had just produced taping a part of the spot and had turned the “Dave & Lani Morning Show” on from KQTP-FM, which at the time were not across the street with the rest of Cumulus Broadcasting. Marshall Barber who was across their hall at KWIC-FM came in and said something about a plane crash. I was somewhat still listening as I went to find my television in my office, and sure enough, CBS was showing live coverage of what we all had seen before the second tower was hit. I was thinking like of many others, What type of plane was it? Weather up in NYC was just as clear as Topeka’s. Then I seen it just as you all did, the North Tower on live television take a direct hit.
I remember starting to panic, and realized I am in a ten-story building a block away from the Kansas Statehouse, and unsure of what was happening I remember shutting off the television, turning off the radio and saving my work in the studio. I called my Mom who at the time was a few blocks away herself from the Statehouse at BCBS and said “Mom… Something bad’s happening in New York, both twin towers just took a direct hit by an airplane. Try to leave and get home; I am leaving work. I love you and Belle very much!” She did not leave of course with work going on, but I told her for my safety I’m leaving the office while I could and get home. Topeka Transit was still in operation, and word was starting to come in by bus radios that the library and mall were closing. I prayed nothing was coming close to home. The worst I said to myself would be Fort Riley, Forbes Field, or Leavenworth. I made it back to my suite by Washburn University at the time, and ended up watching a mix of CBS, NBC, for the coverage most of the day, and even watching The Weather Channel, QVC and Disney Channel for a few seconds at the time all go off the air because of the events.
With having my birthday two days later for turning twenty, I wanted no celebration, and I know I was in shock that this had occurred. I know it took me at least a week if I can remember for going back up to work, and even then I did not know where to begin as I checked in with my first two clients at the time asking if their families were okay, and how should we proceed?
After a few months of watching the continuous coverage seeing the survivors were joyous, but you know in the bottom of your heart the rescues were becoming very far between each other then nothing. That next year in 2002 was just as nerving as I thought Bin Laden, as we knew who originated the attacks would come back to finish what he started I intentionally closed that day just to be prepared.
Over the years it has gotten better, and while I remember that day in my mind as I did yesterday I know that we need as Americans take our country, our freedom, seriously. Without getting into gun rights or politics, we have to keep a watch out throughout our own communities on our way to work, school, the grocery store, and even home to make sure we are safe. If even something little is out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to bother law enforcement. Their job is to be there and protect us and even if it’s a truck broken down or a semi-truck parked on a residential street or something like this. Report it, and let them handle it. It could be something or nothing. We are Americans, and we must stand as such regardless of rights, or what an athlete does on a football field to, religious, sexual orientation, disability or financial status. Be safe and lookout for each other America!