Remembering 9/11: Reflections from ACB Board Member Ray Campbell

{Editors Note: The events of 9/11 resonated for everyone across America. The following post is from Ray Campbell, ACB Board Member from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, reminding us that while our country was transfixed to the images on the television screen, emotions still ran equally deep for all those who experienced  the events unfolding in a different way.}

   September 11, 2001 started out as every work day had started for me.

   I got up; had breakfast; and, with white cane in hand, hopped on Paratransit

   and headed off to work in my office in Naperville,

   Illinois at Lucent Technologies .  I always left for work around 7 a.m. each day so I had time to

   get things done before the numerous meetings, phone calls and other

   interruptions of office life would begin.  Thus, I always left for work before

   My wife Karyn would awake.

   Karyn and I always talked by phone after she got up.  September 11 was no

   different.  After our conversation, I settled in to check my email and get

   on with my work day. Karyn soon called back and told me to turn on my office radio because one of our

   local news stations was taking feed from CBS News in New York, but she

   didn’t know why.  I turned on the radio just after the first plane had hit

   the World Trade Center in New York city.  I remember thinking, oh my gosh,

   what a terrible accident this was.  We talked for a couple minutes before I

   hung up.

   Work… That was soon going to be impossible to undertake, for I was glued to the

   radio.  When the second plane hit the World Trade Center, I realized this was no

   accident.

   I remember feeling surprised, horrified and angry.  After all, these things

   don’t happen in the United states, these kinds of attacks are reserved for

   places like the Middle East, until that day.  Whomever was responsible

   needed to be severely dealt with.  Talking with my colleagues, we became

   concerned. Lucent was a major telecommunications company, and were we a

   potential target?  As a person who is blind, I don’t think I’ve ever felt

   more vulnerable as I did at that moment.

   My boss finally said we could go home if we wanted.  Now what for me?  I

   needed a ride home.  One of my colleagues graciously agreed to drive me

   home.  I called our local YMCA as I knew Karyn had gone there to work out,

   so I could tell her I was going home.  They couldn’t find her.  This only

   added to my anxiety.

   After getting home, I glued myself to the radio, listening to news coverage.

   I called my Mom to let her know I was OK, and she described in vivid detail

   how the first tower collapsed, like a huge pancake.  I called and talked to

   my Mother-in-law, and she told me how my Sister-in-law had called her crying

   and wondering, what kind of a world are my kids going to grow up in.

   One of the most vivid descriptions of what it was like in New York came from

   Carol Marin who had been a prominent reporter in Chicago and was at the time

   working in New York.  She described in vivid detail the dust and debris

   falling all around her as she ran a long way to get to safety.  The shaking

   in her voice is something I will never forget.

   September 11, 2001 is a day that we all should never forget.  While we who

   are blind may experience events like that differently, we’re just like

   everyone else with the same fears, anxiety and other feelings.

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