Sunday, September 11

Ten years ago

It has been ten years since that fateful September day. I was standing in a customer's office. The tv in the office was blaring out something about a tragic accident involving an airliner flying into the World Trade Center.

I left that customer's office and started to make my way down to Bamberg, South Carolina, where I had to examine a real estate title. My mobile phone rang. It was my mother. She said another plane hit the other World Trade Center tower. She also reminded me of something I had not thought of, my father was on an airplane headed for Chicago.

I turned around the first chance I got. The title exam in Bamberg could wait. I went to my home. By the time I got to my suburban Columbia home, The Pentagon was hit. I still remember VH1 of all stations having the news on.

I spoke again to my mother. She had yet to hear from my father. I quickly made plans to go to their home in Honea Path. Between the time I left for Honea Path and arrived, my mother spoke to my father. He was stranded in Columbus Ohio with some business associates.

I had a chevy astro van at the time, something I had for NASCAR races and the like. But, it became clear that my van and I were Ohio bound. My father's best friend, a man I call "Uncle Skip" was at my parents house and ready to go with me. "Uncle Skip" was an old army special forces guy, a guy who had been called up to go and rescue the ship Mayaguez during the Ford administration. Having old Skip with me was invaluable. He kept me both awake and sane.

And, there were crazy things Skip and I saw in our trip from Honea Path to Ohio the night of September 11th and the day of September 12th. There was an improvised checkpoint in the state of Tennessee. For what, I still don't know. There was a soldier and his wife we met at rest stop in Kentucky on his way to Ft. Campbell after being recalled from leave. There was gas prices as high as $5 a gallon in Kentucky and Ohio. We both listened intently to President Bush on the radio.

I got tired. I got irritated. But, ole Skip kept me sane. He kept saying things like " we got a duty here boy," and the like.

Eventually, we reached my father and his business associates in Columbus. They cramped into my little van and made their way home. They were grateful for the ride home. For, you see, there were no airflights, and all rentals had been frozen as well.

Many people remember where they were when they heard that an attack had happened. I remember that as well. I also remember the long, weird night into day trip I had with ole Skip to go get my father and his business associates. The time was surreal. So much was so odd.

I will never forget what happened on September 11, 2001, not only because of the tragedy, but because of what I learned about the best and worst of America. The best was ole Skip, a true friend who was a companion in getting my dad back home. The worst was the folks who wanted to charge us $5 a gallon for gas south of Cincinnati.

If I live to be a hundred, I will never forget that day, and the barbarians who threw our lives into surreality. It is something we should remember. I will never, ever,forget the images of people jumping from the trade tower out of my head. I will never, ever, forget the images of the towers falling. I will never, ever, forget the surreal night and day Skip and I had to get my father and his business associates home.

So many of us forget what happened that day. Politics or whatever inspires so many of us to forget. I will never forget. When I later learned that the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania came very close to my father's flight, I cringed.

Ten years later, the memories of September 11th burn in my mind. It is why I am proud that I voted for President Bush twice. At least he got the fact we have to fight the Islamic fascists head on.

Regardless of the politics, I will never forget, and I will always be grateful to ole Skip. He is one helluva man.
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