9.11 Our Story
Sixteen years ago today, Bishop and I were in Phoenix at the Sky Harbor Airport signing it at the Admirals Club on our way to the Kentucky Association of REALTORS’ Convention.
Within moments, we were surrounded by scared, stunned, and confused fellow travelers as the airport emptied out due to the cancellation of all flights. We were all asking when we could fly again? “We don’t know but surely this afternoon” was the airline’s answer.
We came back that afternoon to an empty airport, “All flights will resume tomorrow. Please call our reservation desk for further information.”
We went to the rental car desk and the line was wrapped around the building. We called and all lines were busy. We talked to others and heard stories of missed weddings, births, and deaths. Those with personal connection to the tragedies were beyond talking, with puffy eyes and empty gazes, totally in understandable shock.
With cars gone and the hope of flying early the next morning, I called my KAR contact and informed them of my plans. Needless to say, this is the only gig I’ve ever missed.
We finally got a car at an exorbitant rate and left Phoenix on September 14th at 5:00 am for home 2,200 miles away. We drove straight through only stopping for short naps along the way. We arrived in Raleigh at 1:00 am the morning of the 16th returning the rental car the next day.
After 4 hours of sleep, we hit the road again for White Plains, NY (a 10 hour drive) for a session on Monday the 17th with the Westchester County Association of REALTORS, and another session on the 19th further north for the Lake George Association.
Traffic slowed to a solemn crawl as we crossed the George Washington Bridge. Smoke was still rising from the ashes of the Twin Towers. Teary eyed we pulled into the service island for gas.
Refreshed and ready to go again, the car wasn’t. Grinding the starter until the battery began to struggle, my anger built. How can this be! I slammed my hand on the wheel, to the shock of my wife, and went into a catatonic state of ‘do nothing’.
She took over by finding a wrecker to tow us to the Jeep dealer in White Planes, dropping the car off after hours, and then arranging for the hotel shuttle. To my surprise, each of my sessions was packed. Everyone voiced a need for normalcy.
Our story was repeated that week all over our great nation. Stress, hardship, sorrow, anger, tears, fears, and anxiety, but NOTHING LIKE THOSE WHO LOST SONS, DAUGHTERS, WIFES, HUSBANDS, DADS, MOMS, AND CHILDREN! MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND MAY WE NEVER FORGET.