Twin City Times-
Mayor's Corner #196
Ten years ago, our nation suffered one of the most significant tragedies in our history. On this important anniversary of that sad day, we remember the nearly 3,000 people who left their homes that morning ready to go about their work. In an instant they were torn from their loved ones forever. Their families still carry losses that will never in this life be filled; and our country was forever changed.
I remember that morning well. I was in Auburn and in a place of business there I saw on television the buildings of the World Trade Center ablaze with heavy smoke emitting from several floors. I immediately called my wife, Pat, and told her about it. I then called my daughter Karla as she worked in Boston for United Airlines. I told her that I had heard that American Airlines Flight # 11 had originated from Boston around 8:00 A.M. and had hit the first tower. She said, “Yes dad, and we have two planes that left here around the same time that are unaccounted for.” She said “one of them was United Flight # 175”. I said “United 175, that’s our flight to Los Angeles on Friday morning” (September 14). She and her husband, my wife and I were scheduled to fly Los Angeles on United Flight #175 that Friday morning and then from L.A. on to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Karla then told me that she had two co-workers on 175 that morning. They were heading to Las Vegas via Los Angeles as they had received a special promotion at the Venetian Hotel/Casino. She said they had asked her to go with them as at times she would fly somewhere for the day or a couple of days with co-workers. She told them she couldn’t go with them as she was scheduled to go to Hawaii with her husband and her parents that Friday. I was drawn to tears as I navigated the Maine Turnpike back to the federal courthouse in Portland where my office was located.
Such a tragic event will somehow haunt all of us Americans for as long as we live.
Yet despite the horrors of that day, we remain moved by the way people throughout the United States put aside their differences in the aftermath of the attacks and came together in empathy, love, and support. We remember the many firefighters, police officers and ordinary citizens who searched for survivors and so generously gave of themselves to help the families of the deceased.