Flash Presentation



Bairdford, PA - 9:49 a.m. September 11, 2001

Finally, I was given a suitable day to work outside, sunny, but not too hot. The ground wasn't excessively wet in spite of the recent rain, and was drying almost as rapidly as the sun was rising. I had everything I needed on site to install the lawn at my daughter's newly built home; my rock-hound, power rake, eight yards of rich dark top-soil and a hundred pounds of Kentucky bluegrass. She was going to have the nicest lawn in her sub-division - does, as a matter of fact.

The rock-hound was cranky from lack of use; I had to prime the carburetor with gasoline to get it started but after a few pulls on the cord and huge billowing cloud of blue smoke the machine roared to life. I began walking behind the mechanical dirt eater making north to south passes along the edge of what would become my daughter's back yard.

I felt like a modern day pioneer, walking behind the contemporary version of a horse drawn plow. Actually, that's what I was thinking when I looked to the south and my daydream was ended by the sight of a plane, flying a little lower than I thought it should be.

"I wonder where he's going?" I thought to myself, watching the eastbound plane that was heading away from the Pittsburgh International Airport.

It wasn't unusual to see planes flying at that altitude as they were on their approach to Greater Pitt but this one was obviously heading away from the airport.

The jet was heading east by southeast and soon was gone from sight.
I get chills just thinking about what must have been going on inside that plane while I was trudging along behind my machine, enjoying the work and the sunny day.

"Maybe he was taking off," I thought, and then got back to removing stones from the soil.

The tilling and rock removal was going well, I had built up a substantial pile of rocks at the end of what would soon be a lawn, when my daughter Bridget, two weeks away from giving birth to my third grandson walked out onto the deck in the back of her new house.

"You need to come in here and look at the television."

Now, I'm the kind of person that once I start something, I don't like to stop until I'm finished, so I really wasn't too interested in shutting down my machine and going in to watch television, however, the look on her face told me this was more serious than anything Regis Philbin might have to say.

"Why?" I asked.

"A plane crashed into the World Trade center…and the Pentagon…they're saying one crashed in Pennsylvania."

* * * * *

Like most Americans, I had not forgotten, but buried the grief and anger from that day in my sub-conscience as a form of mental self-defense. I now think re-living that horrendous day may be necessary from time to time so that we never forget.