I know this is a true golf forum and we try not to discuss politics or other worldy stuff but I do want to share my story on the Tenth Anniversary of September 11.
Every year as this day approaches I really sit back and look at the year that has passed.
Here’s my story from that awful day.
I lived in Connecticut and was flying that morning from Hartford to Tampa Florida to play that week’s PGA event.
Connecticut is the state immediately above New York City/Long Island Sound region so the action was all around.
Flying we were totally oblivious to everything that was happening down below until about 75 mins into the flight the captain said air traffic control had told all aircraft to land immediately. Our nearest stopping place was going to be Charlotte NC. I thought seeing we were flying to Florida that the space shuttle must have blown up or something but people started getting onto the PDA’s and started reading the news about the events below…this was well before cell phones with internet access etc
Flying into Charlotte was eerie. As I looked out the window all I could see were planes lined up in all directions, just sitting anywhere they could find a place as the gates were all full. We were eventually unloaded and as I got into the terminal the first thing I saw on the television was the first twin tower building falling to the ground.
Cell phone usage was maxxed out and I couldn’t get a signal out. My phone showed I had 18 messages from my family frantic to know where I was and if I was OK and I couldn’t get on a pay phone either. t was chaos.
It took 2 hours to get my luggage and every rental car was booked. PGA travel did manage to locate a rental car for me in Columbia South Carolina which was approx $150 taxi ride away. I had no option so did that and then when I got to Columbia to pick up my car of course they didn’t have any!!! One of the other car companies saw what had just happened and luckily offered me their last available car. I hopped in and started driving to Tampa.
I made it to Jacksonville Florida that night and stopped leaving me about 4-5 hours remaining the next day.
It was very strange driving as every radio station was updating and talking about the events and of course there was not a single plane in the sky at all, so you couldn’t escape what had just happened.
I made it to Tampa on Wednesday lunchtime just in time for the player meeting/conference with Tim Finchem who informed us that after much discussion the event was cancelled.
So it was back in the car getting ready for a 18 hour drive back to Connecticut!!
I took my time stopping somewhere in Virginia and then continuing on the next day. I again couldn’t escape the events of the past few days as my trek home took me right along the Jersey Turnpike with Manhattan New York City right there staring at me. That was pretty awful. Smoke was still smouldering upwards 4 days after the tragedy. An awful reminder of what had occurred.
I am sure many people have remarkable stories from that day and the insane loss of live is almost unbearable to even think about .
So one entire year later the Government release the reports about the day’s events. I didn’t really read much of it…it was not something I really wanted to relive and have all those images of the people falling and the fires and loss of live.
Then late one night towards the end of 2006 my wife was glued to the television watching a move called United 93. The movie was about the plane that crashed out in Pennsylvania and how they believe the people on board were heroes in taking out the hijackers. It showed a run by run of the days events and while the main focus was on United 93 the other aircraft involved were shown in detail also.
Anyhow there is a part in the movie that made me sit bolt upright and feel sick to my stomach. See attached below
I slowly got up out of the bed and went to my drawer where I had saved my luggage tags from my flight that day……Just as I believed was true….the Delta flight they were portraying in the movie was the plane I was on.
According to the records (which I then read up on), my flight and United 175 (the second plane that hit the tower) crossed paths at the same altitude missing one another by approx 60 feet…… which when two planes are both traveling at 500 mph is about the shortest split second you could imagine.
I always wonder what would have happened if my plane and that United plane did smash mid air….The second tower would have been spared….less people would have died……and so on….
So forgive me for rambling on here……it just rears up this time each year around this date how lucky I am to actually still be here living my live still with my family and friends and still involved in a sport that has been dear to me my entire life, when so many others lost theirs for no reason whatsoever…R.I.P to those who perished and strength to their family and loved ones they left behind.