September 10, 2001

Lower Manhattan Before 9/11 (photo by Sally Reeder)

It’s impossible to forget where we were and what we were feeling the day the planes hit.  On the other hand, the day before is now a hazy memory — what were the topics that occupied our attention then?  Here are a few of the things that seemed important to us until that terrible morning when everything changed…

     • The political career of Representative Gary Condit was slowly evaporating.  There were allegations that he had been involved in an extramarital affair with a young intern named Chandra Levy, who was missing.  Rumors and gossip linked Condit to her disappearance.  He was eventually exonerated, but by then had lost his congressional seat.

     •  The #1 movie on 9/10/01 was “The Musketeer”; “Rush Hour 2” and “American Pie 2” were still going strong at the box office.

     •  The National Transportation Safety Board announced its preliminary findings in the plane crash that killed 22-year-old singer Aaliyah.  The plane, they said, had been “significantly overloaded”.

     •  A headline in the New York Times September 10th issue read “Fear of Recession Ignites Discussion of Tax Cuts”.  Among other things, the article stated that “For the administration and Congress, the question is how to reconcile their growing interest in tax cuts or spending increases — the traditional responses to a flagging economy — with their pledge not to touch the portion of the budget surplus generated by Social Security.”

    •  The Los Angeles Times had coverage of a 4.2 earthquake that hit around 5 p.m. on September 9th, causing panic at the Beverly Center, an upscale shopping mall.

     •  News media were reporting the exploits of baseball slugger Barry Bonds, who had clubbed three home runs on 9/9, on his way to a record 73 that season.  The ones he hit against the Colorado Rockies were homers #61, 62 and 63.

     •  Just before dawn on September 9th, an abandoned newborn was found in New York’s Central Park, with umbilical cord and placenta still attached.

     •  The Emmy Awards were scheduled for the following Sunday, September 16th.  The nominees for Outstanding Comedy Series were Will & Grace, Malcolm in the Middle, Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier.

That event was among the reasons that our friends Lynn and David Angell were headed back to Los Angeles from Cape Cod:  David was co-creator and executive producer of Frasier.  We had known each other for a long time — we met when Lynn was the librarian at the school our kids attended, and Dave got dragged along to school-related activities.  Later he and I were colleagues, but mainly we were friends.

On September 11, the Angells were aboard American Airlines flight 11.  By the time we found an email Lynn had sent to Sally very late the night before, their lives had already ended at the World Trade Center.

Because she had such affection for children, I think it would have pleased Lynn (and Dave, too) to know that the baby abandoned in Central Park survived her ordeal.  Her name is Molly, and she’ll be celebrating her 10th birthday this month.

9 responses to “September 10, 2001

  1. The ladies here at Knudtson Building Maintenance could barely read this without tears…another beautiful piece written by my big-hearted Father-in-law.

  2. I am sitting at Chelsea Pier reading your blog and watching the helicopters fly by every 5 minutes and can feel the anxiety of those surrounding me.
    I have also seen the new building presently being erected where the Twin Towers once adorned the N.Y. skyline…such a sacred view

    Jackie Campbell

  3. Well done, Tom. Well done.

  4. That’s a tearjerker. I wanted more info about the newborn and it was beautiful the way you tied it in at the end. Love you!

  5. Sara Lord Bugbee-Rush

    I have a son-in-law who is with NYC Fire House Ten. He was off duty that day but of course, a first responder. As with so many of the people who fought in the aftermath he has become ill and been forced to retire with life threatening lung ailments. I am just so sorry for the loss of lives and sadder still with the loss of a “way of life” for so many people who continue to be impacted daily. But how wonderful that Molly is thriving. Thank you, Tom, for that loving tribute and for your perspective which I have come to cherish.

    • For most of us, the natural impulse is to run away from danger. I still marvel at the courage of the men and women who, like your son-in-law, ran toward danger that day so they could help others. Sara, please tell him how grateful we are.

  6. My next door neighbor (and best friend) usually joined me on my front porch for a chat every evening after dinner. On 9/10, however, he didn’t because he had rented the dvd Band of Brothers which he wanted to finish and bring over to me to watch before it was due back at Blockbuster. He didn’t finish it until late, so he didn’t bring it over that evening. He got up at 3 AM as he usually did and left for his job at the Pentagon. He was the senior civilian in the Chief of Naval Operations communications center. American Flight 76 impacted in his office which had just been part of the remodeling effort going on in the Pentagon. He had been in the new spaces less than two weeks.

    I still sit on my front porch and tell sea stories with Marvin Roger Wood and look at the flag we put up in his yard next door. I know he still sits with me and admires that flag — something he spent his entire life defending.

    • I’ll bet it’s not just sea stories you tell with your friend, Bob. At some point it must come around to consideration of that twist of fate that enabled him to be sitting with you at all. Thanks for sharing your perspective with us so movingly… and thanks to both of you for your many years of service to our country.

  7. Just read this Tom. So very moving and thanks!

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