Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

September 15, 2013

Fred Goldenberg: 9/11 - a father's memories

I was sitting in my barber’s chair, getting my hair cut, and watching the Today show on television.

The broadcasters stopped doing what they were doing and Katie Couric reported that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. They were going live to the New York City affiliate, with a helicopter on scene.

Within moments the second plane slammed into the South Tower and Katie said, “Oh my God, we’re under attack.”

September 11th was upon us. It was a day that changed our lives forever. It was the day when terrorism became a household word.

It was also the day when a father’s fears for his children became reality.

On Sept. 11, 2001, my son was on the staff of a U.S. congressman working in the Rayburn building on Capitol Hill. Shortly after the planes hit the Towers in New York, there were reports of a plane or planes headed to Washington D.C. Then the report came in of the plane hitting the Pentagon. One more was headed possibly towards the White House.

I called my son on my cell phone while still in the barber's chair. Miraculously, I got through.

He was still in his office and he said they had been told by security to stay put, but that the congressman had ordered them out of the building and to go home. I am forever grateful to his boss for insisting they leave. We all know what happened to the fourth plane which was brought down in Pennsylvania. Who knows where that one would have crashed had it made its way into Washington D.C.?

September 11th is one of those “where were you when..” days. For each of us it is seared into our memory, never to be forgotten, in so many different ways. To this day, I heave a sigh of relief that my son wasn’t harmed in anyway, and I grieve for the mothers and fathers whose children never made it home on the unforgettable day.

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