Many, many people have their personal 9/11 stories. Here are mine.
-- Just hours after the attacks, I began thinking of the man who operates a convenience store near my house. I had interviewed him for a research paper I was working on in college -- one that contrasted the management and operation styles of local convenience stores. Because he is of Middle-Eastern descent, I started to worry that some violent, terribly misguided goofball would show up and begin starting some trouble. I headed up that way.
When I arrived, there were only a few customers in the store, and the man's wife was returning from a pharmacy across the street, where she had purchased a portable television (no doubt to keep abreast of the incoming news). I was unsure of how, exactly, I was going to suggest that they close down their store or take similar precautions without coming across as insulting or needlessly alarming.
The customers had all left, and I was about to say something when the man said, "Did you want anything? Because we're about to close." I sympathetically told him he was probably doing the right thing, and then made my exit.
-- On that September 11, there was a blood drive scheduled at a nearby church, one at which I had planned to donate that day, anyway. Well, in part because of the news flooding in throughout the day, and the Red Cross pleading for help, by the time I got there the place was packed. A local school group was in line -- whether or not they would have been there under normal circumstances I do not know -- and the queue weaved up the stairwell and out the door. I hadn't gotten near the front of the queue when a volunteer said, "Sorry. We've had so many people come in that we're out of supplies."
Probably a problem they wish they had every day, huh?