Monday, September 11, 2006
Longview of White Mountains, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x24
September 11, 2001 was just another beautiful clear, sunny day in Utah. We were living in a big beautiful house in a small town in northern Utah right next to a mountain. Doug was in Chicago on business and I was having a hectic morning trying to get four kids (one was still a baby) into the car to get two of them to school on time. The phone rang as I was on my way out the door and it was Doug. "So how about what's going on?" he said. I was annoyed, and snapped at him. "What? Just tell me what you are talking about!" He told me to turn on the news, and when I did I could see that nothing would ever be the same again. I quickly took the kids to school and spent some time there talking to other parents and teachers. Some people hadn't even heard about it yet, but soon everyone knew and while I was there the towers fell. I went home to watch the news and to cry and that's pretty much what I did for the rest of the day. I spoke to Doug several times and his being in Chicago was kind of scary at first, because for a few hours at least, it wasn't too clear what was going on and it seemed as if big cities were being targeted. He sat in the hotel bar watching the coverage along with other stranded businessmen and then was told by his employer DuPont, that he still needed to go to his meeting at Motorola, which was in lockdown.* That evening I had two board of directors meetings to go to. I certainly didn't feel like going but I really needed a break from watching the news and so I went. I needed to talk to some other adults about what was happening. Everyone was so somber and quiet, we all felt guilty I think, about going on with things while so many people's lives had just ended or fallen apart.
It took Doug a few days to get home. He already had a rented car so he just started to drive home. By the time he got to Denver, the planes were flying again and he flew back to Utah. We had been spending a lot of time each day talking about what was going on, but even so I was incredibly happy when he finally walked in the door.
I didn't personally know anyone who died that day. I hadn't been to NYC in at least 10 years or to Washington in 13 years. I can't even begin to know what it must have been like to have been on one of those planes, or in any of those buildings or even in NYC or Washington or western PA. I wish I could say something profound or inspirational here. I can't. All I can do is hope that peace can be achieved so that these acts of terrorism will soon become a part of the past, instead a of a constant present and future threat.
* Doug had been a partner in a small company in Utah (that's why we moved there in 1993) that had developed a holographic reflector used in Motorola cell phones. DuPont bought the company and Doug became a employee for the first time in his life and all that that entailed. A great salary, excellent perks, health insurance, random drug testing and endless safety meetings, where a supervisor explained how to walk safely on ice in the winter. After feeling like a schmuck because his superiors insisted that he visit Motorola on the afternoon of September 11th, along with his direct exposure to America's big business world, he decided that life was too short to put up with all that corporate bullshit and he quit a few months later. He had a few little side interests, another technology company and a percentage in a quarry in Wyoming, so he worked with one for awhile and then settled on the fossil company after we moved back east.