Our world changed 8 years ago today. Most of us will never forget where we were on September 11, 2001 when we heard the news that America was under attack.
I was single and living in Dallas at the time and just waking up when my Dad called to tell me to turn on the TV. He said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I rushed to turn it on and still had Dad on the phone when we both watched in horror as the second plane hit. He said, “Carly, we’re being attacked! You need to get to work.” I screamed, told him I loved him, and threw the phone down. At the time, I was the editor (producer) of an afternoon radio news program and didn’t normally go into the newsroom until 10am, but today was different. It was just after 8am, I tossed on a ball cap and ran out the door, speeding as fast as I could from east Dallas all the way to Arlington, about a 25 mile drive. On the way, the anchor of the afternoon news called me on my cell…because no one could believe what was happening. He was near a TV when the Pentagon was hit. He screamed, I hit the gas even harder, barely able to breathe now as I zoomed down the highway at nearly 90 miles an hour.
That day, the newsroom was quiet and somber and bustling…all at the same time. The morning anchors were still on the air, broadcasting what they were seeing on live television…when the towers fell. The silence was deafening, both in the newsroom and on the air. It was at that moment that I knew we had to jump into action. We, as news people, had to step up and cover this story…so we started sending reporters all across Dallas/Fort Worth: federal buildings, DFW International Airport, schools, malls. Word had spread that schools were sending kids home, that offices were clearing out, that malls were closing. Our newsroom was located on the ground floor of the Ballpark in Arlington, a giant baseball stadium, and the surrounding offices were closing and sending people home.
There was no news clock that day. News came in as it happened. As editor, it was all about not letting the story get to me, just getting the facts out as quickly as possible.
It was only when I got home late that evening, after being in the newsroom for 12 hours, that it hit me. I’ve never told anyone this, but my Mom and brother stayed the night. We wanted to be together, we were all so scared. We stayed up late, what else, watching the news…
I had not met my husband yet at that time, but now when I think about the risks that police officers and firefighters take every day, and then I think back to the enormous sacrifices that were made that day, I cannot help but get choked up.
To first responders everywhere, not just my Don, but all of you, Thank You.