No matter how many years pass, I will never forget the morning of September 11, 2001. It started out as a normal day for me. I switched shifts with my buddy at MSNBC and instead of working the 8-4 shift, I took the early morning 6-2 shift. I drove in that day from Hoboken and it didn’t matter where I was driving to or from, when I saw that skyline I knew I was home. I saw it countless amounts of times, but every time I was near it, I had to look. It was awe inspiring. Almost got into countless amounts of accidents while looking at it.
Work started out as it usually did, trying to do the impossible. My producers wanted me to put together a Michael Jordan feature because he was coming out of retirement one more time. You’re thinking to yourselves, great project to work on, right? Yeah well, try doing it without a budget. My instructions were to use the internet to get my images, still scrolls of web pages, because video was too costly. After arguing my case for video to no avail, I went and started rolling on Web sites in the IMUS control room.
About 10 minutes later, our day, our world, and life as we know it, would change forever.
While I was cursing my producers for making me do a cheap piece on the greatest athlete of all time, the executive producer of the IMUS show at the time, a great guy named Tom Bowman, bellowed two words I will never forget as long as I live. “Holy ****!” Now Tom is a reserved guy, never heard him swear until that day, so I knew something had to be really wrong. I looked up at our monitor wall and saw the shot of the first tower with the smoking hole.
Instantly, I sprang to my feet and started running down our hall of edit rooms telling everyone to stop what they were doing. I got into the tape room, started rolling on Chopper 4, and tried to assess what was going on with my fellow co-workers. At that time we thought maybe pilot error. The last thing we were thinking was terrorism until a bit later. I was watching Chopper 4 like a hawk and at one point it was in between both towers and you can see over the water and I saw the second plane coming. I saw it hit the second tower live. No one in the control room believed me. They thought it was a bomb, until I took the feed out and scrolled it back and forth to show them. Now we knew we were under attack.
The rest of the day is a blur. I finally left the building at 8 p.m. and settled into the Sheraton right off the Meadowlands Parkway. The New Jersey Turnpike was closed, so was Route 17 and Route 3. There were blue and red flashing lights as far as you could see. I checked into my room, went downstairs to the bar, listened to President George W. Bush speak and that’s when my phone went off. My mom called me to tell me one of my friends from high school, Chris Dincuff, was in the first tower and no one had heard from him.
Chris died that day. He was just one of almost 3,000 people to perish on a day that was hell on earth, and it’s impact still reverberates today.
Never forget September 11, 2001. Never forget the brave firefighters and police officers that were running up those stairs when terrified employees were running down. Never forget the countless amounts of people from all over the country who pitched in to help in the rescue attempts after the towers crumbled to the ground. And also never forget how the world of sports deflected our attention from the atrocities that took place on that day eight years ago. Today is a day for remembrance. Today is a day for mourning. Today, and every year on this day, is a time that we should all never forget. The day all gave some and some gave all.