Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 years ago

Today is the 7th anniversary of the most hideous event to happen in the US in my lifetime. I wrote a recap of how that day unfolded for me in one of my previous September 11 posts. (I just checked; it was the 9/11/2006 entry). However, an email from Karla earlier today brought back a part of that day for me.

She sent me a note she'd seen in the Inquirer that Flyers beat writer Tim Panaccio was one of three longtime sportswriters who accepted a buyout earlier this week.

September 11, 2001 was the first day of Flyers training camp, and Tim P, of course, was in attendance, as were enough fans to make the practice rink standing-room-only.

However, the training camp events were done by early afternoon, and most people went home. I'd heard that the traffic from NJ to Philly was terrible, so I decided to wait at the Skate Zone a while longer. While I waited, I was with four other people, watching the news on the TVs in the lobby and discussing what had happened. There were three people whom I knew both online and offline from the AOL Flyers board, plus Tim Panaccio.

I distinctly remember thinking, at one point, "If only the news we were watching wasn't a horrendous national tragedy. If we were watching *anything* else, watching TV with this group would be a pretty cool thing to recount."

I think of that day every time I see those TVs in the lobby. And every time I see the flagpoles belonging to the business a few properties away from the Skate Zone. When I finally did leave the rink, about 3 PM, the owner of that business had already lowered his flags to half-mast, hours in advance of the President's declaration of national mourning. Those were the first lowered flags I saw that day, and I remember that every time I see them.

God be with the people who suffered losses that day, as well as anyone who suffers PSTD symptoms from what they witnessed.

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