Today marks the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in New York City. This tragic event made its mark on each and every American citizen as the news echoed throughout the entire country and the world as well. Most people who were old enough to comprehend the magnitude of this day remember it in significant detail. They can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the attack. As we reflect on this day we would like to share some of these stories from our employees.
Haley Twiggs – Sales & Marketing Administrative Assistant
“On September 11th, 2001, I had just started Kindergarten. I went to school just like every other day, nothing out of the ordinary. All of the sudden we could sense the stress on our teachers faces, even as kindergarteners. The lights were turned off, the halls were silent, and the teachers were huddled together wondering what to do next. My dad came and picked me up, and all he told me at the time was something bad happened to the United States today. Which was all that someone my age could comprehend. I don’t remember many moments from that early on in my life. However, this one left a mark, and I am sure it did for many other people in my generation.”
Darren Greenwald – Manager Quality Assurance
“When 9/11 happened, I was a Freshman in high school. It started while all of the students were walking to their 2nd period classes. As I entered one of the buildings and was walking down the hallway, the hairs on my neck raised because something seemed off. Students were scrambling at the doors of a classrooms and talking quietly while teachers were yelling to help control the emotional reactions. I scurried over to one of the closest teacher rooms and as I peered between people’s heads, I saw on the tv the World Trade Center on fire. At first, I didn’t understand what had happened, until the replay showed the first plane crashing into the tower. Everyone was chattering in disbelief as the teachers shooed us to our classes.
As I walked further down the hall, someone screamed and the same scrambling occurred again. This time the 2nd plane had crashed into the other World Trade Center tower. There was now even more panic because the disbelief was turning into “we’re under attack”. The teachers took much more of a command and made sure we all got to our classes. The rest of the day, the tv was on in every classroom for updates as everyone’s mind was focused on safety and the concern for what was happening to our country. As the news covered the World Trade Center as well as the other attempted hijacks my heart sunk , especially when the 1st World Trade Center collapsed. The entire day was surreal, it was so extremely beyond the norm that most people including myself didn’t know how to handle it. The bus ride home was almost completely silent except for the hushed conversations about the day’s events. When I got home, my family held me close as we watched every minute of the news together for updates.”
Donna Dixon – Accounting Specialist (Accounts Receivable)
“The day of 9/11 is a day I could never forget. When 9/11 took place, I was working in a new building that didn’t have a tv or internet access. My son kept calling me on the office phone to inform me of what was going on because I had left my cell phone at home that morning. As soon as I could, I got to a tv to see what was happening. Every time my son called, I kept thinking he had to be exaggerating. Once I saw the images though I could see it was the truth and my heart dropped to my feet. I immediately began to pray for all the families and people that were victims. We had a trip scheduled for New York in October but we delayed it until February. As I stood on the makeshift platform in New York 5 months later, I was still praying for everyone involved. There are simply no words for what I felt on September 11th or when I was in New York in February.”
Scott Watson – Chief Sales & Marketing Officer
“September 11th, 2001 was my first day with Jack Henry & Associates. Jack Henry is similar to M3 as they offer core and ancillary accounting and financial software and services; however, their verticals are banking, finance and credit unions. At Jack Henry, they send all of their implementation personnel on-site and because of their size and scope, they have 6 private jets and have them all in the air dropping or retrieving team members around the country every, single day.
I arrived early on that first day, about 7 am central time, which was about 45 minutes before the first tower was hit. I was in the CEO’s office when the first plane hit the North Tower. Jack Henry had an implementation team staying at the Marriott World Trade Center so there was abrupt shock over the attacks, as the rest of the nation was experiencing as well, but also immediate concern for their team members. We learned that the team had already left the hotel and headed to the bank in which they were conducting their install. However, I also learned that the CEO’s daughter was in NYC staying at that same hotel. With the hysteria of the attack and the loss of all communications in the south end of Manhattan, it was after lunch before he learned that his daughter too was safe from harm.
In addition, as most will remember, all US airspace was immediately closed. Jack Henry had most of their planes in the air and they had to put the planes down at whatever airports they could find. It took a mammoth of logistical effort to get the teams in cars and other modes of transportation and get them back to their families or wherever they needed to be while they waited for the airspace to be reopened.
Throughout the day, air sirens went off multiple times for reasons we never really learned. However, even though we were in a sleepy, little midwestern town 1,200 miles from NYC, the eeriness of the day’s events, coupled with the sirens sounding for no apparent reason, kept everyone on edge.
My children were 11 and 8 years old at the time and we were in week 2 of a 30-day break from TV. Obviously, we broke the no TV pact. When I arrived home that evening, my wife and kids were watching the events of the day and we all remained riveted to the television until late into the evening as more of the news, pictures and video unfolded depicting the loss of life and destruction of property resulting from the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in US history.”
Each of these stories are unique to that person but there are plenty of people out there with similar or even more significant stories than these. We at M3 will be thinking about all those affected by 9/11 today and hope that you will as well.