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11 September, 2007 / theexpositor

September 11, 2001

On that morning six years ago, I was on the air with my daily radio talk program preparing to do an interview with the Alelia Bundles, who had written a book about her ancestor Madam C. J. Walker, considered to be the first African-American woman millionaire. Ms. Bundles, at that time, was also a Bureau Chief for ABC News based in New York City.  

We had purchased the radio station our program was based from only a few months earlier that year. The morning was going like any other morning; we were preparing materials for the radio program, making coffee, cracking a few jokes, getting caught up on the news of the day.

Our program went on the air at 6am and it began like all of the other broadcasts we had done. The interview with Ms. Bundles was scheduled for 8:00 am central time. We had called her on the phone during a commercial break, a little earlier than usual to chat with her and to get ready for the interview. We were on the air; Ms. Bundles was on hold, listening to the broadcast, waiting for her interview, when in shock my partner yelled, “Look, a plane just hit that building!” 

We immediately turned to the huge TV monitor in the studio. An airliner had apparently struck the World Trade Center in New York. Like everyone else, at first we thought this was a horrific accident, until….a second plane struck the second tower. We couldn’t believe it. We immediately dropped all commercial breaks, and asked Ms. Bundles if she wanted to continue with her interview. We all agreed that we would discuss her book at another time, and we turned to getting her insight and what had happened. As it happened, Ms. Bundles was just blocks away from the World Trade Center. As broadcasters, we immediately shifted to full news mode, utilizing all off our resources to reporting the events taking place in New York and later in Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. 

Like all of America we were horrified, struck to our very core that this has happened. We watched in shock as the twin towers collapsed, the massive cloud of dust and debris swallowed the area of Manhattan, as people ran for their lives, covered in that white chalky dust, gasping for breath, pouring bottles of water over the face and shaking in fear. 

Like all of America, we sat helpless, wishing we could something, but finally we realized the one thing we could do is to pray, so we did. We prayed, we cried, we mourned. None of us would ever be the same again.

The details unfolded in the days following the attacks; the numbers of those killed, the accounts of the families they left behind; the response by our government; the voices of the survivors; the heroic accounts of police and firemen who rushed to help those at the Twin Towers, The Pentagon, and finally the brave passengers of the airliners that crashed in Pennsylvania; the tears and resolve of President Bush to comfort the victims families, to help a nation cope and to bring those responsible to justice. 

We will never be the same.

What lessons have we learned? Are we a better nation, a better people after what happened on the fateful day in 2001? We will discuss this in a later article. But one thought remains; we will never be the same again.

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