I was working at Informix Software in customer service, and on the way to work I had heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the first tower. Speculation on the radio was that it was a small plane -- terrorism was not on anyone's mind at this time -- and that it had taken off, had problems and crashed, a tragedy nonetheless, but these type of things happen to small planes from time to time. Got to work and began the day like any other, then word spread like fire. The place literally shut down, people were silent, and the Internet was ablaze trying to learn more. All of the popular new sites were getting pounded and updates were coming in, but not nearly fast enough for us. It was an eerie feeling and one I will not forget, the tragedy that unfolded that day. Over the course of the next few days, heroism and despair, hope and hopelessness all were emotions felt those days. As all had time to adjust to what happened, then it came time to assess what was next. We had customers in the WTC that certainly lost their data centers, equipment and such, so we as a company took measures to make sure they could easily replace their infrastructure should they have a need and where we could help. My wife who worked in the telecom industry had customers and colleagues in the telco centers in the towers that were certainly affected. After the initial act settled, then many felt anger, distrust, fear and a whole range of emotions. I felt supernaturally aware the next time I took a flight after 9/11 of everyone's actions. The talk of sleeper cells was rampant, where were they, could they be in the house next door...etc. I think overall I experienced more emotions in those weeks and months following 9/11 then I probably ever did. I can only imagine that those around during the Pearl Harbor invasion had witnessed similar events unfold and the emotions. I think for my generation, 9/11 is our Pearl Harbor.
On a second memory (related to 9/11), my wife and I were on a trip to Europe in May on an overnight flight when in the early morning the pilot got on the cabin PA system and let everyone know that Osama bin Laden had been shot and killed by U.S. Special Forces. There was a bit of uneasiness around and you could tell around London that security had been beefed up. This was the first time I had seen armed police with machine guns walking the streets. Just a bit of a reality check in the society we live in today.