Saturday, October 22, 2005

9/11, part 1

So, I've decided to start writing down my memories of 9/11, because I think it will be good for me. I still get very emotional about it and I hope by getting it down on 'paper' it will help me purge some of the emotional crap I've been cultivating.

I work as a contractor for the US Fire Administration (USFA) at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC). This is a branch of FEMA. Our purpose is to bring in and train state, local, federal, and military fire officers and emergency managers on how to handle certain things, like mass casualty incidents, hazmat incidents, EMS departments, etc. We train for management, not 'how to hold a fire hose.' Students come for classes that are 1 or 2 weeks and then go home, so we have a new batch of students every 2 weeks. I work at the library, which is the largest disaster and fire specialty library in the world. We had a staff at that time of 12 contractors and 1 federal officer.

Tuesday started out, just as many others have said, as any other Tuesday would start. Three of our people work the late shift on Tuesdays and were due in at noon. A little before 9am, one of them called to say that a plane had hit one of the WTC towers and that we should turn on the TV. My desk was located as such that I could hear most conversations in the LRC, so I heard: "What? WHAT?!" About this time the second plane had hit and I heard: "WHAT?!!!! OH MY GOD!" And I headed downstairs to find out what the hell was going on. My coworker, turned the TV on about the time I got downstairs and of course it was all over CNN. We got to see the first replay of the 2nd plane hitting. Until then, we thought it was a small plane, like a Cessna.

Our federal person came out of her office to tell us and saw that we already knew and were watching. She went back in her office. We were all around the TV now, we just couldn't believe it. I went to the extra phone and called my mom, who also works on campus, to let her know. I also called my husband on his cell, and another friend who lives north of Pittsburgh. She tells me to this day she will never forget that call.

Our federal person wandered back out of her office and we all talked a bit about how this can not possibly be an accident. More later...