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This week’s theme: Remembering 911. Most of us remember where we were, what we were doing, and whom we were with when 911 occurred. Share your experience and remember those who were lost.
I remember I was driving my youngest son home from school when a news flash came on the car radio that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. The newsreader went on to say that US airspace had been closed, all US flights had been grounded, and that planes flying to the US were required to turn back.
At first I wondered if I had heard right, but when the atrocity was confirmed I immediately thought about my husband Sam. On that day he was in mid-air, flying over the Atlantic on his way to Cleveland, Ohio on a business trip. His plane would be more than halfway through its journey. As soon as I returned home I listened to the news unfolding and waited to hear from my husband. Later that evening somebody from the company he was visiting phoned me to let me know that he was in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
As I learned from Sam later, what had happened was that the plane was indeed more than halfway through its journey and therefore low on fuel. It had been re-routed to St. Johns, and as the plane sat on the ground at the airport, an American passenger sitting next to my husband had let Sam use his mobile phone to let the company he was visiting know that he would not be arriving. The company then phoned me.
Sam told me afterwards that St. Johns was a small airfield, only used to something like one jumbo jet landing every week. On 9/11 a total of 27 jumbo jets had landed one after the other, with ensuing chaos. Fortunately the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were soon on hand, and Sam was pleasantly surprised after sitting for a few hours on the plane to be taken into the airport and given sandwiches and tea, along with thousands of other passengers. Sam and everybody else on his plane were then given hotel rooms and meals free of charge for the duration of their time there (about a week), and the chance to make free phone calls home every day. He received amazing treatment, and still talks about it to this day. All the passengers became best friends for a week, and kept in touch for some time afterwards.
Several months later Sam made an uneventful journey to Cleveland, Ohio, to visit the company he should have visited on the dreadful day of 9/11.
Where was Lela Markham on 9/11? Click on the link below to find out.
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