Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"I remember where I was when I heard...:" September 11, 2001 and me

I had just completed the first leg of my morning commute that year, from our home in Roswell down to a parking lot at 8th & Spring in Midtown, Atlanta, just across from the (in)famous Cheetah 3 strip-club. The minibus that would take us from there to Coca-Cola's HQ campus on North Ave. had just picked me up and was full of other Coke employees & consultants like me. Immediately someone said aloud they'd heard a plane had hit one of the WTC towers in New York. The only image I could conjure was of a little Cessna; an accident, obviously. Upon reaching our offices at Coke in the next 10-12 minutes, we surfed the web and discovered what was actually happening. Soon, I'd left my desk and with a couple of others gone down to the building's elevator lobby, where there was a large TV always tuned to cable news. By that time the second tower had been hit, and after a few minutes of watching with others, waiting for the fires to be put out, I remember saying out loud: "They're burning like a couple of candlesticks. It's like they're just going to burn down to the ground." Rumors began to fly that Coke's corporate campus might be evacuated, and around 11:00 AM that's exactly what was ordered, so we all headed home. They were still worried there was a broader attack afoot and that Coke, as our most famous American brand, might be targeted. Up in Roswell, my wife was leaving work & picking up our 2nd-grader & preschooler, staying in touch by cell phone. An anxious and painful day.

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