THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Pause and remember

So much heartache and tragedy on this day. So many acts of bravery and selflessness. So much pain and loss.

Wall of front pages of Newspapers on 9/11/2001 as displayed in the old Newseum. Photo by Mike Hartley

One of the things I will do in my first year of retirement is to take the train to NYC and the 9/11 Memorial. Visit the Pentagon Memorial and the spot in PA where Flight 93 went down.

September 11th is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 100 today. The only birthday I missed being with her was in 2001.

I believe this might be my last 9/11 working. It was one of the most significant days in my newspaper career. It was the reason I missed seeing my Mom that day. I worked in DC just a few blocks from the White House.

I remember coming down to the Publishing Support department (News IT back then) and watching just seconds after the first tower was hit and thinking how could this be an accident on such a sunny morning? Then Kurt and I watched the second plane hit. After pausing a few minutes to take in the scoop on what we just saw we both went to our respective areas and got to work. We knew it would tax the systems and people we worked with beyond anything we had seen.

I remember looking out the windows and seeing smoke over DC from the Pentagon hit. And then the exodus began, people running down the streets, cars packing streets, and then SILENCE. Just about everyone had booked out of town.

There was a Humve on the corner of 15th and L Streets with military guys with rifles. Other than that you could look any way from almost any corner and not counting the guys in camo, you couldn’t fill one hand with the number of people you would see. And this was lunchtime.

Our office though was like a beehive that had been poked with a stick a few times. I was in a unique position that day to see a lot of stuff firsthand because a couple of the things our area maintained were all the wire service photos and stories. We also maintained the editorial system and everything else that went into getting the paper to press and the news online.

I remember being at the photo server after seeing the first image of a person falling from the towers come through. More horrific images came through that day and night as time passed.

The call from my better half will always be remembered, pleading with me to get out of town and come home after the Pentagon strike and the rumors that there was another plane on the way.

Each year I watch documentaries on this date in history. And the aftermath effects on the people and nation. In some ways, it feels like reliving a lot of uncomfortable feelings that day. In other ways, it reminds me to remember and pray for those who were lost and continue to perish from working in the aftermath. Be it the serviceman or the people working at the tower’s site search and cleanup.

But I question if we still have the capability to pull together. Conspiracy theories are so prevalent in every event that I’m sure a significant part of the population would believe the Government was behind the tragedy.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had the togetherness, love, respect, and compassion for each other that we had 22 years ago today? Instead of being at war with each other? Hopefully, we can get there without another tragic event.

I worry that the event’s significance is being lost in our society with the passing of time. That we aren’t teaching or talking about that history with our children enough. I somehow feel the same thing about my parent’s generation of WW2 and Korea and how those stories from the people who experienced it are lost.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Thinking of how special my Mother was today.
  • If you find an honest contractor, stop shopping for a cheaper deal.
  • Thinking about how to maximize the remaining hours of the day.
  • I see an opportunity and I think I might go for it.