9/11/2001 Started out as a normal day for me. I remember it was a beautiful day. Mid 70s and not a cloud in the sky. If things at work went well I was going to sneak out early.
I was at a customers integrating a firewall with a web content filter. I had the basics working and moved on to the more advanced parts. One of the customer's employees came into the room and announced two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. She found a TV and moved it into the conference room.
I hurried to get my work done so I could get to watching TV. I felt numb. I remembered the previous attack on the WTC. I had assumed that was an isolated incident by a few radicalized, American hating, muslims whom learned how to build a "fertilizer" bomb from the Internet.
My phone rang a couple of times. It was my wife. I was thankful she called. We shared in our shock at what was happening and exchanged "I Love You's".
Then my phone rang again. I didn't recognize the number other than it was a downtown Chicago number. I answered the phone to hear an obviously crying female voice say hello. I recognized the voice as a customer.
The last couple of months I was doing some work for her company. Her office was in an unique location. Her office, and the computer systems she supported, was located within the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is a few blocks of the former Sears Tower.
Hearing her sobs I said, "Hello. Are you ok? What can I do for you?".
What she said stunned me....
Struggling to compose herself she said, "Two plans flew into the World Trade Center. We were just told a plane is flying towards the Sears Tower. The building is being evacuated. My boss told everyone to get out."
The gentle sobs erupted into a flood of fear, panic, and terror. "My boss told everyone to get out except me... I have to stay and watch our systems to make sure they are secure." "He said if someone else will watch the systems, I can leave!!"
"Go!!" I said. "Thank you" is all I heard.
I talked to her a couple of times in the next two or three days, but never after that. For the next week I monitored their systems and saw nothing unusual.
I was happy to learn she left her employer a few weeks later.