A very bad day
I had just accepted a job offer from the federal government, and I was taking a regular annual trip I always took from DC to Los Angeles to try out for Jeopardy. In booking the flight, I could have taken a morning flight out of Dulles direct to LA, or a one-stop out of Baltimore going through Phoenix.
As the Dulles flight was $242.00 more expensive than the one-stop, I chose to take the flight out of Baltimore, so I took the Baltimore flight on America West. The morning flight out of Dulles would have been Flight 77.
Father drove me up from Arlington, Virginia to BWI. It was an absolutely beautiful clear blue sky day. The weather was a slight September cool, however, there were occasionally feelings of a slight warmed on the skin. The radio in his car wasn't working, so i knew nothing of the news until I walked into the terminal at about 0930. The first image that I saw was of the Towers in flame. A few minutes later, the attack on the Pentagon was reported.
1010, the crash of Flight 93 was reported however, at the beginning, they weren't sure if it was related to the earlier incidents (although the reporting had a very high confidence that it was). Groundstop was in full play. All flights on the Board were noted as cancelled. About 11 am, we were directed to evacuate the terminal. Went outside, and tried to reach Father to tell him I was good. Caught a cab to a local Hilton and waited about 4 hours or so for a room. Heard Giuliani's initial comments about the day's events. Got into the room and stayed there. Ordered from room service.
Where the room service arrived, he said that almost everybody in the hotel had ordered room service, and that the restaurant was empty. Looked at the TV channels, and every station except Nickolodeon was reporting on the events of the day. Took a ride home on the train and subway the next day.
The beginning of thinking which has continued for 20 years. I have accepted my fortune as fate, however, that took a while. I know that things can change from absolute beauty to absolute horror in a matter of minutes. The innocence of 9/11 was gone. From then on, if it was a bad day, and i could help someone else, I would do so, extending to putting it all on the line if necessary.
For 20 years now, I have walked outside, no matter where i was, at 0847 Eastern time to spend a moment to honor the memories of the people who did not make it through the bad day. I will continue to do so.