Monday, September 11, 2017

Seemingly Random Near Miss

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 
--Psalm 90:12

Many others are sharing what they were doing when they found out about the attacks of 9/11, so I might as well do so -- along with something else I don't think I've mentioned previously.

On the morning of 9/11/01, I was up puttering around and drinking coffee. A bit after 7AM PT, my landline rang; it was my great-aunt Alma. Without preamble, she yells: “Turn on the TV!” I did and we stayed on the phone and bore witness for about two hours. Judging from the time difference, all planes had reached their endpoints by time Aunt Alma called.

After we hung up, I got dressed and went outside. At the time, I lived roughly 10 miles east of LAX and almost directly under its constant inbound traffic.

You don't realize how accustomed you have become to a certain sound until that sound is absent.

There was also no street traffic. It was as if the world had gone silent and still.

Much, much later, I reflected on something else. At the time, I was in the USAF Reserves. Reservists and Guard members are required to perform an Annual Tour – two weeks of Active Duty each year. At the beginning of that summer, I had orders for my Annual Tour -- location: Washington DC -- and those orders were for the two work weeks just prior to September 11, 2001. However, at the beginning of August, the orders were cancelled due to lack of unit funding – each fiscal year begins on September 1.

When I found out that American Airlines Flight 77 – the plane that crashed into the Pentagon – had been bound for LA, I shivered. Had my orders not been cancelled, it’s very likely that I would have been on that flight.

And homeward-bound.

For several years afterward, I had forgotten about this; probably, I blocked it from my consciousness. I don’t remember what brought it back to my memory, but I haven’t forgotten it since.

UPDATE: Glenn's readers are welcome -- well, most of you. :) I'd love it if you'd check out today's other 9/11 post, one which is not about me.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning Da Tech Guy Blog. Latest: Tribalism is Natural.

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