It has been a while since I continued my story of working in corporate America. If you have been following my blog, I am telling you a little bit about myself, my husband, my marriage, my son and my career. I have had an interesting life and I thought I would share a slice of it. If you want to start from the beginning, please read my post called Another story begins . . .
As I was working as a technology contractor at the bank, my husband had arranged to make a trip to West Africa with the intention of starting a new business. You may say, not again! But this is how I looked at it. He was like my little stock market. If he was successful it would be big and well worth the sacrifice. If he didn’t, there was no loss except the absence from each other and our son.
While he was in Africa, I continued working at the bank. Our project was finally heading down the right path. The end was finally approaching. The bank was starting to get excited about implementing this system, and were anxious to take advantage of the cost savings it would provide.
There came a day when early in the morning I had a doctor appointment at the University of Ohio. When I finished my appointment and started driving to work, I heard on the radio about the airplane that had struck one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Upon hearing this as I drove I was in shock. It was one of those moments when you literally gasp. When I got to the bank many of the employees were standing around the TV’s in the cafeteria, listening to the events unfolding before their eyes.
After seeing the graphic picture of the first Twin Tower being struck, I became very worried, especially since there was news of other missing airplanes. My work site was about 20 miles from where my son was in day care. The thought that struck me was, I was not going to be like the woman in those disaster movies who is struggling to get to her children during a catastrophic disaster. It was a time that the family must be close. I left work and rushed to the day care. On the way I filled my car with gas, and then picked up my son. We went home and immediately turned on the television. Before my eyes the second Twin Tower was hit. Black smoke billowed from the buildings. People were scrambling in terror to get away from the towers. Soon the reports about the Pentagon plane and the Pennsylvania plane were reported.
Then the crisis turned into horror. The first Twin Tower began to crumble. The people were running in hysteria. The dust coated everything in its path. The whole scene was surreal. Then before I could let these events sink in, the second tower fell to the ground. It was unbelievable. I couldn’t imagine how this happened in this country. How could these people attack us on our own land? And why would they attack all of these innocent people? They didn’t combat our soldiers. Instead they struck every day people like you and me. They sucker punched us so that everyone in America would feel the terror. The realization that no one is safe became a reality of every American.
For the remainder of the day and into the night I was glued to the television set. I called my husband and he too was in shock. I wondered if this was the beginning of another war, only this one being fought on our own soil. I prayed that this would not be so. Thoughts went through my head that maybe I should get out of Ohio and head to Wisconsin where my family lived. By the time this occurred to me, gas prices shot up and soon after there were gas shortages. There would be no trips to Wisconsin. Not now.
That day was absolutely frightening. I could not believe that someone would hijack a domestic airplane and slam it into the Twin Towers. I never imagined this country being at war on its own soil. My husband grew up in a country that was in a brutal war. The stories he told me or that I have read were extraordinary. Here I was alone with our son, and my husband was on an entirely different continent. If this was going to get worse, I dreaded being here without him. After we talked again, he encouraged me to be calm and if things took a turn for the worse, he would either come home, or get tickets for my son and I to come to him. We realized it would be safer not to be in America.
Who would ever believe that we wouldn’t be safe in America? I never imagined that I would ever say these words. We were a mighty nation, a super power compared to the rest of the world. Yet, these terrorists were able to completely make us reassess our position in the world. It also showed us that there were people who really hated America, and they were smart enough to hit the general public, which would turn to panic. They were right. I panicked.
For the next month or so, as you all know, there was a lot of crazy stuff going on in this country. For some time there was fear that more airplanes could come crashing out of the sky. And then there were the anthrax scares. There was a day at the bank when a white powder substance was found in the parking lot. The company evacuated all of the employees and sent them home. It turned out to be nothing. The bank also put huge four-foot high concrete flower pots across the front of the building, which acted as a barriers and would prevent a terrorist from ramming a vehicle into the lobby of the building. At that time Ohio was also the main place where all the suspect antrhax substances were tested. Columbus also rerouted all of the trucking routes to be around the perimeter of the city rather than going straight through. I don’t think this was too bright, because most of the people lived in the suburbs, which is where the trucks were diverted to.
I was also one of those people who invested in a survival pack, plastic and duct tape. Those disaster movies kept running through my mind. I thought it would be best to be safe rather than be sorry. And yes, I still have those emergency items today because we are still at risk, probably even more so today. Here it is many years later and I can still feel the fear I felt on that day. To this day I am always cognizant of who and what is around me. I will never look at the world the same way I did before this horror. It is true that America will never be the same.
What makes me sad is that it is this America that my son will know. He will never experience the America that I knew. His way of life will be much different from mine. This really saddens me. Carefree would no longer be a word used to describe America. Guarded is probably the best description of how it will be. He will grow up in a time of terror alerts and airport security. A time when there is worry of biological warfare. A time when there are too many nuclear bombs,and too many crazy leaders in control of them. A time when anyone is at risk of being attacked. Anyone at any time. Yes, he will have to be guarded. I wish I could change things so that he would not have endure this burden. Life is much different when you are on constant alert, and guarded, but that is the way of life now. There is no choice.
Book smart doesn’t guarantee project success . . .
Same company, different job . . .
Back again . . .
Swallow my pride and move on . . .
Worst fears were coming true . . .
A new business can be rough . . .
It’s a different world . . .
Change in career, another move, and starting something new . . .
Good-bye Chicago, Hello Columbus . . .
Chicago and a time of crisis . . .
A place of prosperity . . .
There are good people in the world . . .
Hard times: a need to relocate . . .
And another story begins .