A friend of mine recently sent me a challenge to write and post my memories from 9/11, the experiences I had and the feelings that came with it all. I had originally posted this last year and learned that many people didn’t like being reminded that we did not ALL stand together and look after one another. They questioned me on why I wrote a piece depicting the negativity of American’s who were clearly in shock. I responded back by saying that I didn’t chose what I wrote, I only wrote what was my experience was on that day. Is it my fault that I was met with so much negativity and so little solidarity? We are all human. We all will make mistakes.
This then, is my memory from 9/11.
On the morning of 9/11, I was at work at an Allstate call center. We took calls for Insurance Agents in their off hours. At the time I did not have a personal cell phone.
And the floor managers wouldn’t let us call long distance to the east to check on family nor would they let us leave work even though we had family that might be there.
I remember frantically trying to find out if my Aunt was working in DC that morning. I called my best friend at the time and asked him to call my family and check on their safety. He couldn’t call me back because I called from the guard-house phone during a break. I had to sneak back out again to call him 30 minutes later only to find out that all the phone lines were busy for east coast calling and that he would keep trying.
I spent the next four hours taking calls from people who’s car’s were parked near the Twin Towers or homes were in the blast range. They were trying to call their insurance agents who were located IN the Twin Towers. They were angry that their agents weren’t calling them back. I had to finally tell one particular caller who would not stop yelling “Look Lady, he may NEVER call you back, we aren’t confirmed if he made it out alive yet! So stop worrying about your deductible of $100 alright?”
We took approximately 10,000 calls that morning and many of those from people just like her.
People wonder why other Country’s or people of other nationalities think so little of us or hate us so much. But remembering the behavior of the people that day, it doesn’t surprise me where that comes from. I was so disgusted that day. Out of the 150 calls I took that day, only 5 were from people concerned about the welfare of their agent. Two was a relative. My colleagues said the same thing. All anyone could think of was their car insurance or home insurance.
All I could think about were the people stuck in burning buildings, the people who died on three airplanes, the people responding to try to save other lives….my Aunt and whether she was in DC for work.
All my manager’s could think about was that we were taking so many calls and making so much money on each one…no need to let a handful of people (out of over 100) go home to check on their east coast family.
When my shift was over at 2pm, they had the audacity to ask me to work overtime as some people were not showing up on shift. I refused and walked out. What normally only took me 30 minutes to get home, that day took me 45. I had to pull over twice to get my emotions under control and to stop shaking and crying.
When I finally made it home, I sat in front of the TV, phone in my lap, alternately crying and trying to call my family back home. I finally reached them around 4pm to learn that my Aunt was fine but that my cousin, a firefighter attached to a New York City firehouse, was missing.
We later learned he would always be missing.
On this day, I want EVERYONE to remember the people (and animals) who died, the one’s left behind and the reason why all of this happened. I want people to open their eyes and look around them. I want people to ask “Are you ok?” irrespective to any belief, ideology, political affiliation, nationality, creed, color of skin or preference of mate. If you want to say that I am being Liberal for wanting this things, then I agree with you. I agree that I would rather have peace than fighting. I agree that I would rather we all got along then to be constantly at each other’s throats. I would rather all of those things happen and many more…..
What about you?
God be with us all.