The Clear, Blue, Silent Sky – Laura Daniels Remembers 9/11/01 [EDITORIAL]
Today, your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts will be filled with the words "Never Forget".
For most of us, we never could if we tried.
Every year since that day in 2001, I've noticed one thing: the sky.
That Tuesday morning, it was a clear, blue, silent sky.
And every year since 2001, including this morning, on September 11th, there is a clear, blue, silent sky.
Call it divine intervention to assure we "never forget". Call it coincidence. For me, it's a guarantee.
Like most of you, I will never forget a single moment of that day, and the days following, regardless of the weather. Where were you when you heard the news?
I lived in Albany at the time. The day before 9/11/01, my then-cohost and I did our morning show from a charity golf tournament, and stayed the rest of the day to emcee the breakfast, lunch, and dinner banquets. Since we worked a 20 hour day, we had taken the next day off.
On the one, rare Tuesday I got to sleep in, my phone randomly began ringing off the hook. I was so annoyed! I just wanted to sleep in ONCE! Since this was still in the days of answering machines, I let all the calls go to the machine.
After the 5th or 6th call, I figured something was up, so I crept to my living room to hear the messages:
"Have you heard from Andrew??? I'm just wondering if he's ok. This is terrible. Please call me."
"(sobbing) What's happening, Laura. The world is collapsing. I love you."
"Where are you?? We need to be at the station NOW."
I had NO idea what was going on. I turned on my TV, just in time to see the second plane hit.
I grabbed a sweatshirt and raced to my car, and sped to the radio station. Like most of us, I had no idea what was happening. Or why. Or how.
What happened in the following hours was a blur. As a 26 year old "newbie" in radio with just 3 years under my belt, I was also my station's news director. I began what would be a 12-hour marathon of running up and down halls between stations in my cluster...gathering and sharing information, monitoring news feeds, tear sheets, and TV coverage. Every so often, you'd pause with an equally terrified coworker in the hall, and stop to hug each other, and weep.
We later learned that Flight 11, the plane that would eventually hit the North tower, had literally passed over our heads that morning as the terrorists changed the flight path to New York City.
The nightmare in the clear, blue, silent sky was literally unfolding, directly above us as we slept in, got ready for work, dropped our kids off at school.
15 years later, the feelings are still very raw, and very real. If you're old enough to appreciate the magnitude of how that day changed America forever, as you pause to reflect, pause to share how that day also changed YOU. Share it with those who were too young, or not even here yet.
There are some images that will resonate in our minds forever. For me, it was the sky.
Today, we're all coming together to watch the Bills season opener. As we gather with friends and family, take a moment to glance at the clear, blue, silent sky.
Remember how we are better. Remember how we are worse. Remember how we are changed, forever.
Remember how, despite today's political landscape, that one day, we were all on the same team, under that clear, blue, silent sky.