EDITORS NOTEBOOK: MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS AND REMEMBRANCES
By Tim Caldwell
Note: I will be adding to this page on the bottom as events continue to unfold.
Where was I when I heard the news? I have to actually back up to Monday. I took Monday off from work and decided to get off Cape overnight. I spent the night in North Conway NH expecting to due some sightseeing before coming back to the Cape late Tuesday. I awoke about 9:15 AM Tuesday morning and like most mornings one of the first things I did was reach for my pager that gets news alerts about major fires and public safety events. It read: Manhattan 3rd alm box 8087 World Trade Center for an airbus into tower one. Turning on the TV I could not believe my eyes. The second plane had already crashed into tower 2. Within a matter of minutes the pentagon attack was sharing the screen. Then it happened: the first world trade center tower collapsed on top of dozens of rescuers. That was it-I knew I needed to get home to loved ones as soon as possible. I threw everything into the car, checked out and hit the road. But, I knew going through Boston to get to the Cape would be impossible. Tuning into the car radio practically every station was carrying Peter Jennings. Reports were out the jets had taken off from Logan. People were fleeing the Prudential and Hancock towers fearing they might be hit next. That’s when I knew I had to take the outer loop-I495. This was not without adventure either. As I got back into Massachusetts a call crackled over the police scanner in my vehicle tuned to the Mass State Police. “Possible bomb in a bank off I495 in Andover. Sure enough as I passed by the area several MSP cruisers had the off ramps closed down. About 4 hours later I arrived back in Provincetown. I drove straight to my Mother’s and have her a hug. After a while I went home and turned on the TV and the scanners. Every channel was interrupting for coverage. Even cable channels like MTV and VH-1 were carrying CNN as were all Turner channels. HGTV simply said: due to todays events HGTV is suspending programming. I went back to my mothers to have dinner and watch the President speak.
Wednesday September 12th, 2001
I awoke after little sleep and turned on the TV expecting it to be a dream. But it was real and now the dragnet was underway. After surveying the town for local affects (see coverage on our front page) I returned home to watch heavily armed personnel going into the Westin Copley Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay. Later in the afternoon I hit the Internet which had been heavily jammed and almost unusable. I managed to complete a link to a live scanner carrying the FDNY. (Link is on our front page). Within minutes frantic calls were going out about the imminent collapse of 1 Liberty Plaza. A short time later dispatch reported getting a cell call from someone trapped in the rubble. This is when the attack really began hitting home. Images flashed on the TV showing burned out shells of what had been fire engines and ambulances. I admit to being relieved when my Dad showed up and said lets get some dinner. I got away from the radios for a while but the coverage was, I guess, morbidly spellbinding.
Thursday September 13th, 2001
Two days after the attack and it really starts to sink in. Continuous TV coverage begins playing an answering machine tape of a woman calling her husband from one of the top floors of the trade center just after the plane hit. Transcripts of people calling from the planes were certainly emotional for me but actually hearing someone crying, telling her husband “I love you” really got to me. Later in the afternoon and evening as I opened the link to FDNY again the radio was filled with announcements. A steady stream of “5-5-5-5” notifications of line of duty deaths of members and “652” messages of funeral arrangements. I went out to dinner again with dinner with my Father and some friends. As I walked to the restaurant some two and ½ days after the attack, the side streets are still filled with the chorus of TV sets as people sit transfixed in their living rooms by what they are seeing. On Commercial Street almost without exception everyone I pass is talking about it. Tonight America is truly a country united…
Friday September 14th, 2001
It is another emotional day, proclaimed a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. Noontime: I attend Provincetown’s memorial service with some 750 people. A truly moving event with so many people of different faiths coming together, holding hands, singing American songs and listening to all the local clergy. 2:00 I got home to write this and heard a chopper moving in. I ran outside thinking it might be military but it was just the Coast Guard although who knows they may be patrolling the skies too. This evening is equally emotional. People arriving to the vigils are treated to a sign from the heavens. A full rainbow arcing across the entire sky. The service is equally emotional with more singing. Some levity as traditional songs give way to New York New York and Over the Rainbow. Heart wrenching moments as I watch children amongst others paying homage to those fallen. I get home a little after 8 only to get a frantic call from my landlady exclaiming there’s a jet going overhead! It seems life is at least trying to get back to normal as air service begins again. But I expect everyone will be looking up to the sky everytime a jet flies over for some time to come...
Saturday September 15th, 2001
I know there has been a strong bias to Provincetown in my reporting of these events. Frankly, that’s because I haven’t been able, or willing to go out of town. I believe the events reported represent what is happening all across the Cape now more than ever with the whole country uniting as one…
“C’est Le Guerre!” (This is war!) I feel like I’m watching some history channel program about World War II. The president has declared: “We are at war”. There are reports the treasury department may start printing war bonds for the first time since World War II. Politicians tell us to expect a long drawn out affair prompting some memories of Vietnam. Scarier than any of this are media consultants warning of the possible escalation of the conflict by the terrorists to the level of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons! Its obvious someone was asleep at the security switch Tuesday. I only hope everyone will be paying full attention from now on…
Monday September 17th, 2001 Editorial: Stop the hate!
A disturbing rash of hate crimes are being reported against people of Arab origin or Muslim faith. At least one man is dead in Arizona and numerous acts of property vandalism as close as Plymouth, MA are reported. This is the wrong way to try to seek vengeance. It is not what America stands for. The attacks were launched by a small group of radicals. The Arab and Islamic people who have immigrated to this country are honest hard working citizens equally outraged by the events of the past week. Punishing them as we did the Japanese after Pearl Harbor in effect makes us no better than the terrorists. America is supposed to be a land of diversity and equal opportunity. Lets concentrate on the people actually involved in the terror and stop the cycle of hate once and for all. Comments?
Friday September 21st, 2001
10 days after the worst attack in American history. The emotional events of the week are unforgettable. From Jay Leno returning with a moving opening segment on the first tonight show that had him on the verge of tears to the Presidents address carried live-stopping the NY Rangers hockey game to the telethon that will air on almost every TV and radio channel tonight. America is a country united.
Editorial: The need to get back to business as normal.
Although there will probably never be such a thing as business as normal, Americans must make their best efforts to do just that. The economy is in a tailspin. Tourism is suffering a major slowdown all over. While mourning and remembering is important we American’s must try to get back to business as normal as possible as quick as possible. If we allow ourselves to be scared out of doing what we have always done then the terrorists have achieved their goal. Certainly we should be aware of our surroundings and stay informed of the latest news but we should not stop spending money or vacationing. Lets show these “cowards” we will not be deterred in living our everyday lives.
Additionally I say something must be built in the place of the Trade Towers. While a memorial is of course a must, Some sort of building or buildings, maybe not 110 stories, but something daunting must be put up to fill the void.