I know this is a sports blog — more specifically a Washington Redskins and Washington Capitals blog — but some things are bigger than sports, and today is no exception. I’m sure everyone has their own story about that day, but I can’t help but reminisce about it and how different things are now, as opposed to before that fateful day.
For me, September 11 started out as a normal day. I got up, kissed my not quite one month old son and headed out to the car to go to work. I turned on Elliot In The Morning, as I always did then, and started my 2 hour commute. As usual, I was exhausted from too little sleep and waking up WAY too early, and so I vegged out, barely registering the radio. As I pulled into the parking lot of my office in Herndon, I briefly heard Diane say that another plane hit the second twin tower, and now authorities were thinking the first hit wasn’t an accident.
Ex-squeeze Me. Second plane? Twin towers?
I listened in disbelief for a few minutes, and then I ran up stairs. My plan was to call and make sure my wife had heard the news and was keeping track. Alas, it took me 45 minutes to get to my desk; everyone — even people I’d never met from the other offices — stopped me to ask if I’d heard the news.
Once I finally got to my desk, I called my wife to make sure she was OK, and then I brought up CNN’s website to catch-up on the details. Just about this time, the Pentagon was hit. Talk about close to home. I pass by the Pentagon every time the Skins play a home game. Unbelievable. A friend of mine was a locksmith who was in the building (thankfully, on the other side) and he described the rumble of the building, and how the armed escort that took him every where bolted, leaving him to fend for himself.
The rest of the day, all 200 of my fellow employees sat in the kitchen, glued to the 13 inch TV, waiting for another building to be hit, learning about flight 93, looking out the big window that faced off in the direction of Dulles Airport, wondering if one was going to decide to fly through that window.
The world is different now. Two wars and a severely split populace have made each year and each election tenuous, and this year’s tilt is no different. For the most part, 9-11 is a distant memory, brought to the forefront occasionally on the History Channel or when I think about the friend that was in the Pentagon as I drive past on any given Sunday. This day, however, I make it a point to reflect on that day; to remind myself what a tragedy that was, and how it immediately united our country as one big living, breathing being, and subsequently divided us by the actions taken by our government in the years since.
One thing is for sure. When I tuck my children into bed tonight, I will hug them a little tighter and when I lay down tonight to go to sleep next to my wife, I will be thankful for everything I have in my life. This day reminds me how little importance there is in the loss last week to the Giants, or whether Marques Colston is out or if Jason Campbell deserves the benefit of the doubt.
That being said, Go Skins!