A lot of people have been sharing their stories from that fateful day in September, eleven years ago. I think it hit me more than usual this year because of the similarities between the two days. 9/11/01 was a Tuesday, an unseasonably warm Tuesday, it was a gorgeous day, much like today 9/11/12. It’s hard to forget the memories that are etched into my brain from that day. I was in College, it was the beginning of my second year at Harper College in Palatine, IL. I remember what I was wearing, a quiksilver sweatshirt, I thought to myself that it was going to be way too warm to wear a sweatshirt but I did anyway as it was a quick day at school and I could change when I got home. I was also overly concerned about the Cubs game later that day. The 2001 version of the Chicago Cubs was a contending one, and leading up to the game on 9/11/01 the Cubs had lost six of seven and were in the midst of blowing a wild card lead. I was anxious, nervous, and very worried, that was before a plane hit a building in New York.
I was sitting with my future wife eating a bagel after our first class of the day, she was studying and I was pretending to. There weren’t smartphones then, so it’s not like I could pass the time by looking at twitter, or game previews. So I stared blankly at a book, looked around the common area and was hoping that Jon Lieber could bounce back from a rare horrendous outing and get the Cubs back on track. Lieber won 20 games in 2001, an outstanding season from a very underrated pitcher. As we sat there I noticed a commotion around a TV that was hanging outside the bookstore, I figured it was just something random on that people were watching, maybe some local breaking news about some random event. When I walked over to take a look there it was, 1 WTC, or the North Tower of the World Trade Center with a gaping hole on its north face. The enormity of the situation didn’t hit me at that second, I was able to glance at it and then we had to get to Chemistry. We sat outside the classroom wondering if we should just go home as we knew something was wrong, we just didn’t know to what extent. So we went to our Chemistry class, we felt we had to go because it was a class we struggled with and missing it would do us no good, we still dropped it later in the semester. The class was basically a repeat of two days before as we could tell not even the professor was sure that we should all still be there at that point.
Upon exiting the class the situation in New York, and all over the Country had escalated to the point of the College closing effective immediately and everyone had to be evacuated from the building. It was mid morning on a Tuesday, a large number of people were on campus. To give you some background, Harper College is a community college, almost 100% of the people who are there drive there. So all at once, a very busy campus was told to leave. Needless to say that didn’t work, we sat in the parking lot for about thirty minutes without moving when we decided to park and figure out our next step. We were going to have to walk off campus and get a ride because there was no way out of there, at least for another hour or two. As the temperature escalated into the 80’s I realized that I really was stupid to wear that sweatshirt that day, go figure. We made our way to Jewel so that we could use a bathroom, yes they would not let us use the college bathrooms before leaving, get out now. As I sat in the Jewel waiting for a ride the thought hit me, are the Cubs going to play today? In a time when there is panic over the entire Country I was thinking about how this would affect the Cubs season. I’m not sure why I was, probably because that was my normal, that was my life up until that point. The next week was anything but normal for everyone in this Country, feelings ranging from shock, and horror, to anger and sadness. The 2001 major league season didn’t resume until eight days later(for the Cubs) on 9/18/11 with the Cubs losing in Cincinnati to further confirm that they would not be making a trip to the postseason, but at least I felt normal again because baseball was back.
I hope you enjoyed reading my account of that day, or at least part of it. Please feel free to share your memories of that day. I also want to say thanks to all the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom since that day, and I hope that the many families that were affected that day have been able to move on, and have a somewhat normal life of their own. Here is a nice article from MLB.com about baseball coming back after 9/11.
I found some great video detailing the return to baseball, enjoy.