9/11 and Me.
Back when the Petro Canada building (now the Suncor Building) was the tallest building in Calgary, I was working for Pitney Bowes (an American company that manages mailrooms all over the world).
Sept.11 2001, I was told by a fellow employee that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers. I had no idea of the severity – I had learned of how some guy a year or 2 before had flown a small, single engine plane into the side of the WTC, with barely any damage (to the building).
About a half hour had passed, I noted more and more folks around the offices were talking about what was happening in NYC. I offered to turn on the large projector in the largest of the conference rooms and have the TV tuned to the news. I assume others in the mailroom, as they too made deliveries around the building, shared info of the news being on in the conference room.
Throughout the day, as I made my deliveries, I would periodically stop by that conference room, always with no less than 5 people and sometimes as many as 20+. People arms crossed, heads shaking, gasps, talking to each other but not looking away from the screen.
I would eventually catch up with the news as my day came to a close.
Horrific and surreal.
But let’s face it – I was like many: I was far and away in a whole other country. Yes, Canada isn’t all that far. It’s a weird, ‘that’s happening to them, not me’ thing.
Growing up watching the evening news, told of a horror being done to people in some country I had never heard of …or heard of far too often. But it was all far away, and that distance bred my indifference over time.
There were so many cameras and so many angles of what was happening in NYC, it was both terrible and spectacular.
The following day Petro Canada (as well as many other international companies in Calgary) announced a heightened state of security.
Being in a mailroom, security measures seem laughable sometimes. I mean, a letter bomb or envelope laced with poison, has much more chance of hurting some medium-wager nobody, than any upper echelons of some international company.
By the end of the following week (I think), a meeting of mailroom staff was called. This meeting wasn’t like previous lame ‘pep-talk’ meetings. We were told of how some Pitney Bowes mailroom staff had lost their lives in WTC.
I was an employee of the same company, in a mailroom serving the majority of a building, of which was the tallest office tower in the city.
Now everything I had seen and gawked at on TV for 2 weeks or so had become not so far away.
Nowadays information can get out and reach around the world lightning fast. Information of atrocities and horrors done to others I’ll never meet, done by others I hope I never meet …in a place I’ll most likely never go.
But for me, over time since September 2001, that information sort of lost that, ‘couldn’t happen here’ cushion it once had.
So many positive things go on around me this time of year like birthdays, reunions, etc.
I do what I can to not let those things get weighted down by images/videos of that time, or First Responders treatment by the government, or the accusations, or the conspiracies or the over-reaching security measures put in place since then.
Looking back on what was meant to be a short paragraph, I guess I had thoughts on the subject …and had them for a while.
So I guess we all hold hands now and sing Kumbaya?