On Sept. 11, 2001, my wife, Rachel, and I were living in Boston. We had been married a little over a year, having moved from Decatur for Rachel to pursue her master’s degree. We lived in Marblehead, but we both traveled into Boston for work and school.
I worked for a construction company in their field office as the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center was being built.
The morning of 9/11 my commute took me through the Ted Williams Tunnel, which runs into Boston’s Logan Airport, at the same time terrorists were boarding the planes that would later hit the towers. I was looking through a set of construction drawings when the first reports came in about a small plane hitting one of the towers. Not much attention was paid until someone turned on the TV in the break room. I remember being completely stunned.
It was then that people began to be concerned about targets in Boston. Many of the supervisors in the field office were guys from New York or had family and friends there. It was very tense sitting in the office that morning.
I was in a section of cubicles with a guy who had very close friends that worked in the second tower and, of course, no one could get through to anyone. I would learn later that those friends did make it out, but only because they went downstairs to get a bagel and were told to get out of there – leaving their cell phones and keys at their desks.
The project executive called us into a meeting and told us that downtown Boston was being evacuated and we were to go home. It was the quietest bumper-to bumper traffic I had ever been in (Boston traffic is notoriously loud and brutal).
Rachel arrived home safely a little later and reported that Boston was like a ghost town.
A couple of days later she was driving to class in Boston when her mom called and told her to stay away from the Copley area. The FBI had just raided the Copley Plaza Hotel, where at least one of the terrorists had stayed. Rachel happened to be driving by the hotel at that very moment.
It took a few days for everyone to return to their routines, though there was a new “normal.”
Look for more of WCMessenger.com’s special 9/11 tribute at www.wcmessenger.com/911.