Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering an Infamous Anniversary

September 11, 2001.

Like most, I remember it very well. I remember where I was, what I was doing and who first shared the news.

For me 2001 was ten years and two careers ago. On September 11th I was an independent manufacturers’ agent in Atlantic Canada exhibiting at a trade show in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was living an hour north of Halifax at the time in the small rural community of Lower Onslow. I lived a peaceful, insulated life. The thought of what was to happen on that day had never entered my mind.

By 9 am EDT news started to spread across the trade show floor that an airliner had hit one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. My first thoughts were immediately that this was a terrible accident. It wasn’t long until a second airliner hit the second tower and it was clear that this was not an accident.

My immediate reaction was to call my wife. Did she know what was happening in New York? I asked her to turn on the television and keep me updated.

The possibilities were unfathomable and the rumors were incredulous. Speculation that there were more planes hijacked, that even the bridges in Halifax were at risk. I remember working with a client who was also a member of the Canadian Military on leave. While with me he was called in for duty – all hands on deck.

As it turned out there were four planes, all US bound, that were hijacked. Three planes were used as missiles and slammed in to buildings, one plane crashed in a rural area of Pennsylvania due in large part to the courageous actions of its passengers. Canadian cities were not attacked.

Canada’s role was that of a good neighbor. Hundred’s of planes were diverted to Atlantic Canadian airports where they stayed on runway parking lots for days. The thousands of passengers from all over the world were taken in, fed and cared for by everyday people. It is this act of kindness and global community spirit that exemplifies what we as humans can do for each other.

While we remember the tragedy and loss we witnessed 10 years ago, lets also remember the kindness and caring for humanity that became prevalent here and abroad.

We have only one planet, we are one global family.

Feel free to add where you were and what you were doing in the comments.


  1. Great post Ralph. I was at my place of employment two careers ago when this happened as well. At the time I worked as the training supervisor at AvisBudget Group. As you can imagine with flights being grounded, we were slammed with calls almost immediately. Our staff was hearing one heartbreaking story after another, frequently moving them to tears. We brought in grief counselors to help them get throughout it, and despite all of the pain, they worked tirelessly through their breaks and lunches, coming in early and leaving later, all in the name of helping people get to their friends and family. On a happy note, while Avis lost a huge fleet of cars in the gravity, all of our staff members working in the towers were accounted for, safe and sound.

    I hope September 11th will be a day that will make everyone remember the unity and compassion we felt in the days and weeks after the accident, and forget about the petty annoyances we get bogged down with in everyday life.

  2. Please excuse the auto corrects in my post, using my iPad.

  3. I was at work at Chiganois Elementary when the milkman came in and told me a plane had just hit one of the towers
    . As you, I assumed that it had been a terrible accident, until I heard about the second tower. I was anxious to get home that day to watch the news. I was probably like many others and was fixated on the TV, watching news footage and trying to make sense of what had happened.