Oblivious of 9-11
My work buddies and I have a unique experience of 9-11 in that we were totally unaware of the events that happened for four days. Six of us Lockheed Martin engineers flew to Minnesota for a week-long canoeing trip to the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota.
We hit the water on the Tuesday morning of 9-11 and canoed deep into the wilderness area where there was no cell phone reception or other campers. We camped on an island among the many connecting lakes of the area and fished. One of our group members had commented that it was unusual that we had not seen any airplanes fly overhead during the past few days since he noticed them in the area the year before.
On Friday morning, we started back on our two day journey to the drop-in point when we came across some other canoers making their way into the wilderness. They began to tell us of the events that happened on Tuesday and the stories seemed so outrageous to us that we couldn't believe them to be true. We spent our last night, quietly, on another island wishing we were back home. I had nightmares that night as I tried to make sense of what we had been told.
When we arrived at our pickup point, we met more people who verified the news. We were crushed. When we eventually got back within cell phone range, we had messages from our loved ones telling us the news and hoping that we were OK. When we arrived at the nearest town, Ely, Minn., we saw American flags everywhere! We had truly come back to a new world, one that was forever changed from the one we left. On our drive back to Minneapolis, we saw banners hanging off of bridges and people waving flags. Four members of our group decided that they would keep one of the rental cars and drive back to Texas. The remaining two of us decided to stay in a hotel and fly back the next day. We went to the Mall of America that night and saw a huge plexiglass tank set up for donations to the fallen. Back in the hotel room, we saw video of the attacks and the falling of the towers. It finally became very real to us.
The airlines were still in disarray and our flight was delayed many times. When our flight finally touched down at DFW airport, there was a collective sigh of relief from the passengers. We were home.