I was working in downtown Houston on a project with a large energy trading firm when I heard about the first plane. The company had a group of Risk Manager's who had the job of monitoring the trading transactions and as such had a bull-pen with several televisions tuned to various financial news services. When the story broke, all the services switched over to reporting about the crash in the tower. I walked over to the bull-pen just as the image of the 2nd plane traveling into the tower was shown on the screen.
I was completely stunned. Everyone on the trading floor was silent and listening to the news report. After about 20 minutes of complete silence, people started talking, making phone calls to their friends and loved ones. I called my wife who had just dropped the kids off at school and hadn't heard about the event. We were told by the building maintenance to evacuate the building and leave the down-town area. I couldn't get a flight out of Houston for several days, so I drove up to Dallas to visit with my parents.
The events of the day seem like ages ago. We've gone from suffering through the horror of seeing our neighbors in New York and Washington attacked and dying and finally realizing that we were now no safer than those in Europe or other areas that had been victims of terrorist attacks. The resulting unification of this country around response to the attack and the attempt at healing was remarkable. There were no longer Texans, Californians, Iowans, etc. etc. There were only Americans, and by extension, we all became New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians and Washingtonian's for a while.
Contrast that brief period of unity with the fractious times we are experiencing today and one wonders why can't we keep that sense of community that we had right after 9/11?
It's a shame.
Remembering those we lost eleven years ago.