I was working in Milwaukee when 911 happened. I don’t watch TV in the morning (I seldom watch it in the evening, either), and I arrived at my client’s that Tuesday morning to see folks in the lunchroom huddled around a small TV. I asked “what’s up”, and they couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard. I was just in time for the second plane impact.
The immediate shutdown of the nation’s airspace of course threatened my Friday evening flight back to Seattle, and I plotted to hijack my rental car to drive home. (As the saying goes, “It’s never too far in a Company car.”) As luck would have it, airline schedules resumed on Friday. At the Milwaukee airport, there were crowds of folks whose flights had been cancelled during the week trying to get onto the newly-released flights.
However, because I had a boarding pass for a flight that hadn’t been cancelled, I was able to walk past them (not unsympathetically, cuz a few hours one way or another would have cast me among them) to check my bags and board my flight.
But I remember those 3 days when the sky was eerily silent, and the almost bipolar uncertainty and angry disdain for religion once again run amok. There was coverage in the Milwaukee press of city leaders positing, almost wistfully, that a plane could perhaps target the Firstar building (their tallest building).
But, the peril to the Firstar building notwithstanding, I was heartened at how we willed ourselves toward a resolute, but more sober, normalcy.