You will absorb many views regarding the 10th Anniversary of September 11th. Usually, I avoid blog posts regarding something everyone is writing about. However, my experience then of classic communication helped me connect with total strangers in a personal way.
I am from the New York City area and the World Trade Center was built during my lifetime. I have fond memories of riding the train into One World Trade Center station with my father to then make the walk to his office just a few blocks away.
Early on September 11th, I arrived at my marketing job for the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa. When word of a fire at the WTC got around, I joined others to see what was happening. I was watching as the second plane crashed. Having been home just 33 days before for my father’s funeral, I was relieved that he didn’t live to see that day.
Fast forward to our newspaper’s publisher and editorial team assembling to determine how we would react knowing that events had extended to Washington, D.C. and rural Pennsylvania. It was decided we would create a “bulldog” afternoon edition, then send staff out to become modern-day “newsboys.”
Soon after I got to the Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa – billed as the “World’s Largest Truck Stop” – word spread quickly about my presence. Employees, OTR truckers and many others came to get a paper and talk about what at that time some only had heard about.
They were amazed that we had been able to get something like this printed so quickly and appreciated that we had worked to bring the paper to them. Almost everyone shook my hand and said thanks. The personal conversations helped me too. (You can see the front page here.)
My final copies went to some flight crews which had begun to arrive at the truck stop. They came in various types of vehicles – basically anything they could get hold of after air travel was halted.
Now, news of crisis spreads real-time. Then, I was a small, but important, link in a social network, delivering an original form of communication at a crossroads of I-80, an original avenue of transportation, in a way so many before me had.
Please take time to pause and remember the victims, then and now, of 9-11 and their families, as well as our military service people who continue to sacrifice for our country.