I was living near downtown Portland near the local heliport often used by various news organizations. I had the day off and once I woke up did not turn on the radio like I usually did. It was an unusual beautiful sunny day for September in Oregon. I did not hear the usual fleet of news helicopters flying overhead to go tell everyone that the Stadium Freeway was backed up, which is was most weekdays and therefore not very newsworthy, but I just figured something had happened in the suburbs, up in the mountains, or over on the coast, so the silence did not alarm me.

Around noon Pacific time, I did finally turn on the TV. Since I didn’t have cable the picture was a little fuzzy at first, then instead of the local mid-day news anchor’s voice, I heard Peter Jennings’ unmistakable voice saying something about “you can see the smoke from midtown.” That got my attention. Something big was happening in Manhattan. I believe it was shortly after that that the second building came down. After watching enough news to figure out what had happened, I went to the one place I knew most locals would be gathering, Portland’s living room, Pioneer Courthouse Square.

It was a very interesting time. There was a moment there when most of the world was on our side, with even the French were saying “today we are all Americans.” Sadly, that feeling did not last long.

I could write more, but I have assignments to do for class.

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