Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001 remembrances on 10th anniversary

September 11, 2001 remembrances on 10th anniversary.

For September 11, 2001 I was in Baltimore, Maryland at the Society for Bimolecular Screening (SBS) trade show at the Baltimore Convention Center. I was working for ASDI at the time. I heard from the woman in the booth next to mine that her mother had called her to tell her that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. It was just after 9:00 am and the doors to the show had just opened. We both opened our laptops and connected to the Internet. Around 10:00 am they put on the big flat-screen television designed for broadcasting the talks at the show and the first image we saw was the first tower collapsing. People were quiet but there was occasional sobbing. Everyone who had one, was on their cell phones and rumors and panicking started. A man said that he just got a call from a friend in Washington and he was told that the convention center was a target. That caused people to panic and start to leave the building a little too quickly. People were outside and not sure of what to do, and then there was a roar from Air Force jets as they they engaged their afterburners. This caused people to panic even more. Baltimore is near Andrews Air Force Base and jets were being dispatched to protect the area airspace, but people were assuming the sounds they were hearing were passenger planes headed toward the convention center. A woman screamed something but I couldn’t hear what it was, but it caused people started to run down the street. One woman in a gray skirt-suit fell to the ground as people tried to rush past her. I walked back to one of the hotels with friends and we watched the events unfold on CNN. When we went to dinner later, walking down the streets was eerie. There were very few cars on the streets and several armored vehicles were now parked in front of some of the federal offices and the federal courthouse. There were also US Army vehicles in convoys moving down the streets or parked on street corners. Several buildings had a cluster of armed soldiers in front with M16s.

I drove a group of people back to New Jersey, Sophia Liang from Aurora Biomed in Vancouver and her father. They had a booth at the trade show and their next appointment was with Bristol Meyers Squibb in Princeton.

A few days later II went to Ground Zero with a woman I knew from the Internet, Judy Lanza, and I took photos and collected some ash that I now keep in an amber jar. I showed my Civil Defense badge and they let us into the inner area. They were having people collect any papers that survived the collapse of the towers or were from the airplanes. They had bins set up to drop off any papers that anyone found.

Nora B. Skinner (1903-1963) and Ralph Freudenberg (1903-1980) tombstone