I was supposed to have the day off from work, one that was a long time coming. Mike Enos called me at about 3:30am or so, waking me up, and asked me if I have seen the news on TV. I told him I hadn’t, and he suggested I check CNN and then decide if I still wanted to take the day off. I quickly turn on the TV and see replaying footage of the first hijacked plane hitting the first (North) tower. It was totally unreal. Surreal. Well, so much for taking the day off. I woke Lou and, because I knew right then and there the day, traffic, security on post, etc., was about to get insane. I got dressed and sped off to work.
It was still early on and the scope of the terrorist attacks was still underway, so I got on Wheeler AAF thru the back gate with little traffic or security check procedures. But by the time the official start of the duty day kicked in the gates (on all military installations) had gone to the highest force protection phase, traffic was snarled, and even the commander (was it COL Walker at the time?) couldn’t get in for hours. The day at work and thru the evening as I left work and went home, was eerie and almost like an unbelievable dream. Watching, monitoring, all that transpired. The networks (not news, but our data/voice networks) went almost full capacity, DSN calls hit surge capacity. All day it was like an ‘organized frenzy’ of activity. Then, going home, I switched from normal KSSK listening, which had turned mostly from music into talk radio, to the full-time talk radio stations to track what was going on minute by minute.
And the total unfolding of events of the day after Mike woke me up to the WTC north tower being hit, at the time not totally confirmed that it was intentional. That, until the second plane hit the south tower. Then the Pentagon. Then the plane that crashed in PA. Horror beyond belief that we, the United States of America, are being attacked on our own soil.
This evening was eerie sitting in the back porch. With our development in Ewa Beach being right in the inbound flight path of planes landing at Honolulu International Airport, it’s easy to imagine how much noise there is from planes. All the time. But not tonight. It was eerily dead silent in the skies from all planes being grounded in the U.S., a first in history where nothing, nothing was flying over U.S. airspace.
Another day in infamy.