Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Fifteen years sounds like a long time, yet I recall that day like it was yesterday.
The night before I was working night shift at the police department. I don’t remember what had happened overnight, but it had been a busy night. The kind of shift that when you get home, all you want is a beer and bed, but you skip the beer.
My roommate at the time was a fellow police officer, Dan. He was working day shift.
I was out cold when Dan yelled at me from my door frame. “Wake up. Turn on the TV you need to see this.”
Groggy I had no clue what time it was. “What channel?” was the first thing that came to my mind.
“It doesn’t matter every channel is showing it.”
Fumbling for the remote on my nightstand I clicked on the power to the TV. Sure enough whatever channel I had been watching last now had the news on. The image was the twin towers; one was smoking.
I sat up in bed. Dan came from the door frame to the computer desk next to my bed and sat in the office chair. A minute later the second plane hit.
I was still trying to wake up. My brain was confused. Had I just seen a replay of and event or was this live? Why was smoke billowing out of both towers at the World Trade Center?
“What is going on?” I asked.
“The start of World War 3” was all Dan said.
We sat in silence watching the news. The lady I was dating at that time was a student in grad school. Her morning class canceled, so she came over.
Right after the first tower fell dispatch came on the radio calling on duty officers back to the PD. The Chief wanted to hold a meeting.
The day became a bit of a blur. I could not sleep, yet there came a time I could not watch the news anymore. My Girlfriend had a job, and she left to work her shift.
With nothing else to do, I ended up putting on my uniform and heading into the PD early.
That night was eerie. Very few calls. People started lining up at the gas stations filling their cars and multiple gas cans. We began to fear there was going to be fighting, but it did not happen.
By about midnight the city was a ghost town. No one was out. The bars were mostly empty. As I drove around on patrol, that was how I also felt, empty.