Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Remembering 9/12

  • September 11th fifteen years ago changed our county forever. The relative peace and stability felt throughout American was shattered. The experience is forever and deeply seared in our subconscious. Even children too young to remember or not then born feel the impact of that day.

     

    I shall never forget 9/11.

     

    But what about the day after? Do we remember what happened on September 12th fifteen years ago?

     

    Dr. John Carman, a professor at Utah State University, was staying at the Marriott hotel between the Twin Towers and had just left in a taxi when they were attacked. Dr. Carman shared his “Reflections from Two Days at the Twin Towers” Friday night at a 9/11 commemoration in Logan.

     

    I share some of the details of his experience from an article written in the USU Agriculture Experiment Station newsletter.

     

    As Carman left the restaurant, there was an available cab just outside and he got in and gave the driver the address of his meeting in midtown. Moments later the cab rocked, and though the driver blamed it on construction, Carman saw people in the street staring at the towers. He turned and saw flames filling a wide gash in the north tower.

     

    Carman asked the cab driver to stop when he saw flames leaping from the buildings, but traffic forced the two forward. Carman, who later learned that one of the plane’s engines passed completely through the building and landed on the Marriott roof, said that he imagined that 200 to 300 people had been “instantly vaporized” by the destruction. Though in the weeks to come Carman would learn that those figures were far too low…

     

    Stunned, like everyone else, Carman thought he might go back to the hotel to retrieve his luggage, but soon realized that would be impossible. Carman later wrote, “I had the clothes I was wearing, a cell phone that wasn’t working (and the battery was going dead), a notepad and a wallet. Even with a wallet, it was unsettling to be 1800 miles from home and no place to go. My belongings and unfinished manuscript…were in my room. I wouldn’t be getting them. Half of the Marriott had collapsed, and it finished collapsing suddenly the following morning with other nearby buildings.”

     

    Carman made his way to another Marriott hotel in hopes of finding a room after many unsuccessful tries in the chaotic city. With his room key from the now destroyed Twin Towers hotel, Carman was invited to stay along with many other stunned and stranded people on cots in the hotel ballroom, where everyone was alternately watching the news on a big screen or talking about their experiences.

     

    Eventually Dr. Carmon found a place to stay with a former grad student, Rod Fuller, who was living in New Jersey. After a few days, with all the airlines ground, he secured a rental car and started to make his way home to Utah. 

    It was at this point in his recollection, as he described what he discovered on his journey across our nation, something turned inside my heart.

     

    Flags were flying everywhere. Neighborhood streets were lined with American Flags. They hung from freeway overpasses. In large cities and small country towns flags waved brightly in the morning sun and gallantly in the evening light.

     

    Something incredible started on September 12th. We mourned together and rallied together. We became more united and felt as if we truly were one nation “indivisible.”

     

    It’s changed since then. Life took on a new normal. We’re in a constant state of war. There are strong racial divisions. Congress is continually bickering.

     

    We can be united again. Small and simple acts will make a difference. Let’s remember September 12th and do our part to help American become all she is meant to be.

     

    Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.

     

    Les

     

    p.s. Take 13 minutes to be inspired as to America’s greatest by this heart stirring account how our Flag kept flying over Fort McHenry the night Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner.