Everyone can tell you precisely what they were doing when our nation’s innocence was destroyed by terrorists who used planes to toppled the World Trade Center, hit the Pentagon, and caused a fourth plane to crash into a field in Pennsylvania.
Where were you?
I was working for St. Mary’s Medical Center and had left my office at about 8:20 a.m. to attend a meeting at Bay Medical Center. I was listening to the radio as I drove. Regular programming was interrupted with an announcement that a “small plane” had hit one of the twin towers in the heart of New York City. It was assumed it must have been a small private plane, but a short while later, the other tower was hit by a second passenger plane, and the horror of the situation became apparent.
I was with a half dozen of our area’s hospital administrators. We were on a committee to run a lithotripsy service in our area. (In addition to Bay Medical and St. Mary’s, Mid-Michigan Medical Center, McClaren, West Branch, and a couple other hospitals were represented. About six of us attended the meeting.) I was the only one who didn’t hold the title of President or Vice President of his facility.
When I walked into the meeting room at Bay Medical, several others were already watching the unfolding story on television. All eyes were riveted to the news as it developed. The dramatic photos showed the damage to the buildings. Terrorism was apparently the cause.
We attempted to conduct the meeting, but it was impossible. The TV was behind me. The sound was turned down. All of the sudden there was a gasp from those on the opposite side of the table. The second tower to be hit had collapsed. Shortly thereafter the other tower came down. It was devastating.
We were silent as we listened to the reports.
The meeting concluded prematurely and I headed back to my office. The rest of the day was spent huddled around the TV set in the conference room at St. Mary’s. No one worked. There was little conversation. We were stunned.
It was an unforgetable day. Our nation’s innocence had abruptly ended.