I remember what I was doing September 11, 2001.
When President Ronald Reagan was shot March of 1981 I was a director at an NBC television affiliate and I remember running to the studio repeatedly, throwing on lights and interrupting regular programming every time we had a morsel of information to report. The first broadcasts varied – the president had been shot, no he had not been shot, yes, the president had been shot. The newsroom and studio were chaotic again two months later when Pope John Paul II was shot four times.
I remember when President Kennedy was killed. I was in first grade and our school was led to River Oaks Boulevard in Fort Worth, Texas to see the president and Mrs. Kennedy pass by. An hour later we were kneeling by our desks fearfully crying and praying.
9/11 was like that without the crying for me, but certainly with the praying. I do not watch TV in the morning but always listen to music. I woke earlier that morning, made coffee and for some reason turned on the TV. I hurriedly called my editor while dressing and before rushing out the door to my newspaper office watched another plane hit the second tower live.
At first our office could not decide what to do. I learned all schools and government buildings were on guarded lock down so I rushed to an area school to get a local angle on the story, took a photo of children praying at a flag pole and rushed back to met our deadline. I asked to have a box on the lower front page added to encourage readers to report gas gouging to a federal telephone number because many gas stations across the nation raised their prices an additional $3-$5 a gallon that day to prey off the panicking public.
I also remember emphasizing that we get the information correct, because some major networks repeatedly referred erroneously to “…the attacks in New York and in Washington.” However, the Pentagon is in neighboring Virginia, not in Washington D.C.
The next morning everything was different and things have not gone back to the way they were since.