Thursday, September 11, 2008

The small things

In thinking back on this day seven years ago, of course I remember the planes flying into the towers and how they crumbled, the shock, the unknowing, the tears. But it's some of the smaller moments of the day that really stick out.

I remember how it was one of those perfect almost-fall days. It was just as clear and crisp in Charleston, W.Va. as it was in New York that morning.

I remember being on deadline (afternoon newspaper...) and Stadelman walking out of his office to tell us a small plane had crashed into one of the towers and we needed to hang on to page 1 because we'd probably need to make some changes. I wish I could remember what was really slated for the front that day.

I remember my friend Steven was supposed to fly that very day to wine country for a vacation with his wife.

I remember, before we really knew what had happened, joking that we would probably be sent out to the tall buildings in town asking if they were planning to evacuate. We were all about localizing national stories. Sure enough, by day's end, I know at least Laidley Tower had closed, maybe others.

I remember I was supposed to go South Charleston High to interview people about a proposal to change the school start time. I was on the phone with prinicpal Bill Walton to cancel right at the time the plane hit the Pentagon. I told him what happened and he said "Holy shit" and hung up the phone.

I remember our publisher coming into the newsroom and working on the city desk. I don't know how many editions we published that day. I remember one reporter selling copies out on the street.

I remember going to Mulligan's at the end of the day to have some drinks because none of us in the newsroom knew what else to do and we just needed to unwind and try to grasp what had happened. I remember my friend Brad saying he was glad Al Gore wasn't president...

I remember being really proud of the paper we put out that day.


Andrew Knapp said...

"I remember my friend Brad saying he was glad Al Gore wasn't president..."

Haha. That's the best.

some asian guy said...

the centerpiece was a sam tranum story about a piano being salvaged from a flood in, like, logan earlier that summer. he hadn't heard yet about the planes when he wanted to make a change to his story.

i was probably in my second week doing page 1 and wondered in the shower that morning how i'd do if we ever got a big breaking story on our time.

i agree with you. the way we mobilized that day was the finest hour i've experienced at the paper.