September 11, 2001 was a sad day indeed. As I remember, it started out just like any other work day at the call center. I hooked up my headset and geared up to start taking calls. Little did I know that, I was about to have thousands and thousands of callers heading my way.
I can remember it so clearly, I was 7 months pregnant with my son and was working my morning shift at the local phone company’s call center that handled calls from the east coast, specifically, New York. After a few minutes of our shift starting, I remember hearing someone shout out…”a plane has hit one of the World Trade Center Towers in New york!” In one instance our lines were flooded with calls. She had received a call from someone inside the tower across from the first tower hit. We immediately turned on the t.v. and switched it to the news. There was nothing on yet. We may have received one of the very first phone calls placed, after the first plane crashed.
After a few minutes, the news was on it! We watched in horror as the building bursted with flames and dark thick smoke. Then someone else yelled…”another plane has crashed into the second tower”. WOW! Now things were getting crazy! With all the phone lines down in the New York area, we had the only way of communication for most of these people, since we were based in California and our phone lines were up and running. Our job was to receive verbal messages, type them, and send them out to pagers. We took call after call for hours. Some callers were from inside the buildings, some from outside trying to reach those trapped inside.
It was all happening so fast, and the whirl wind of emotion from New York callers ranged from violent anger to heartache and grief. I remember taking calls from wives, husbands, parents, children, and friends all distraught with fear that their loved one would not make it out and home to them alive. I sent prayers, last words, last ‘I love yous’, and so many other heartfelt messages. One husband called in sending a message to his wife who he knew was in bad shape. She was stranded on one of the floors above the plane crash, and he was on the phone with her until the phone lines were down. His words were heavy with sorrow, wishing his wife peace and strength, along with his last chance to let her know how much he loved and cherished her. This call really hit me hard. I had to take a break from my station to gather myself and push past the heartache, I was being bombarded with call after call. To this day, the voices of the callers still ring in my ears and heart, as if it had happened yesterday.
The call center even handled some of the New York Firefighters pagers. I remember, when everything was said and done, they started looking for the missing firefighters and survivors trapped in the rubble. We sent page after page, to help searchers locate them for rescue. Every day I would watch the news hoping to hear that another firefighter or survivor that had been rescued, but as the days passed that hope started to slip away. They had now changed the status from rescue, to recovery.
My thoughts, hopes, and prayers go out to all those directly impacted by the events that took place on this dark day. To the men and women that risked and lost their lives to try and save another life…..Thank You! All your hard work, and bravery is above commendable! If the terrorists’ plan was to break us down and make us weak, they failed! In a time where there was so much heartache and pain, our country rallied together to show our strength and courage as a United Country. It was a sad day indeed for America, but rest assured, we will always fly our American Flag high and proud for all who loved, faught, and died for its Red, White, and Blue Glory!