Never Forget. I will not forget where I was in 2001, or what happened 13 years ago. I was on my first business trip ever. I, along with about 12 co-workers who I hardly knew, flew down to Austin, TX for a meeting. I was 3 months out of college and this was my first real assigned program.
Most of us flew down on Monday, and a few were flying down on Tuesday morning. We were in an all-day planning meeting and were notified of the tragedy by a coworker that had just seen the news on a breakroom television. There was a brief recess, and then we all returned to work. I don’t remember finding out much more about what was going on – somehow most of the attention was still on the meeting. At the end of the day, I remember getting back to the hotel room and calling my mother and ensuring that everyone was safe. My family was spread out in 4 different states, but all unharmed.
Wednesday was slightly different; we still had work meetings, but there was a vote on whether people were willing to wait for when planes would be flying again, or drive home. Almost everyone was ready to drive home, so I remember getting in a car with 2 other co-workers, who I had just met on Monday, and starting our road trip on Wednesday afternoon. I, the youngest, was chosen to start the drive and I naively chose to not stop until I left the state of Texas. 537 miles later, we reached Texarkana, AR. I gave up driving, and after dinner, we drove to Memphis, TN 277 miles later for the evening sleep.
After our not-so-restful sleep, we got up early and continued our journey back to family. Again, they handed me the keys and I drove us across another state, Tennessee, but no more. The co-workers drove through the other states until stopping at a Golden Corral somewhere between Tennessee and New Hampshire. Following dinner, I was told to sleep in the back of the car, and bat cleanup. As the car passed more state lines, I tried getting some zzz’s. Early in the morning, the co-workers handed me the keys one final time, and I drove from Connecticut to New Hampshire to finish out the trip. 2000 miles and 42 hours later, we had finally reached our families.
That program I flew down to Austin for the kickoff meeting? Since 2012, the system has been used by our military personnel in their fight against terrorism. When I walk into the system factory today, I definitely won’t forget what happened in 2001.