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John Mercure: Mercurey Rising

9-11 Twelve Years Later

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9/11 twelve years later.

It is hard to believe that it has been 12 years.

I was working at Today’s TMJ4 on that beautiful Fall morning.  I had come into work a little earlier than usual.  I was headed to northern Illinois to confront a police officer that we were investigating.  It was going to be a stressful situation.  I was a little nervous.  I did something unusual that morning.  I turned off the radio as I drove in.  I was trying to collect my thoughts and finalize the strategy for dealing with this rogue cop.  I wanted quiet.

I walked into the building and was stopped in my tracks by my boss as I headed toward my office.

“Where are you off to?  What do you have going on today?” he asked me.

“I’m headed to Rockford to investigate that police officer…”

“No you’re not,” he interrupted.  And then he pointed at the bank of TVs in the newsroom.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Every monitor had shots of the Twin Towers on fire.

I was shipped off to the airport. 

It was eerie.  There was a lot of media.

Family members expecting loved ones were also beginning to assemble. People were crowded around the one TV in the common area.  It was surreal.

There were planes in the air that were headed to Milwaukee from New York.  They had already taken off before the attack began.  Many of them were being allowed to fly all the way to Milwaukee.  Our job was to get the reaction of those people as they de-boarded.

This was in the days before smart phones were prevalent. That meant that as the bleary eyed early morning fliers arrived from New York, we were the ones to break the horrific news to them.  It was an awful experience… for them and for us.

In the coming days air travel ground to a halt.  I spent days at the airport.  It seemed like I was there 24/7.  I’m sure I went home at night, but I really can’t remember it.  The days were brutal.

This afternoon on Wisconsin’s Afternoon News we spoke to Wisconsinite Gordon Haberman.  His daughter Andrea was killed when the Twin Towers collapsed.  I asked him if the pain has subsided over these twelve years.

“It is just as fresh as it was 12 years ago,” he told me on the phone from New York.

I pray for Andrea Haberman. I pray for her father Gordon.  I pray for all of us.

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