COLUMN: Fragile Frightening Day

by David Williams, HNN Freelance Correspondent

It was September 11, 2001. I was a route sales supervisor for Mister Bee Potato Chips. I was training a new route salesman. We walked into Kanaha City Krogerand everyone was listening in the backroom on the radio.

It was stunning. They told me an airplane had hit The Twin Towers. This immediately made me concerned. My brother lived just blocks away from the Twin Towers and worked right by it. I had just walked from his apartment to The Towers the year before. I tried to call him and could not get ahold of him. We did not have a radio in the truck.

Our next stop was Marmet Kroger. Again, Kroger employees were listening. By then, it was obvious it was terrorism. As we continued on our route, each store got emptier and quieter and eventually they started shutting down. It was a weird day I'll never forget and it links me forever with Mister Bee.

I was talking to my mom and my friend Becky on the phone as the day unfolded. It took a couple of hours for my mom to make contact with my brother.

That evening was the strangest evening ever...even the major television networks signed off of the air. The country was scared and sad...but it pulled us together as a nation. Even though it broke our hearts, it was the single most unifying event I had ever seen.

For several nights, people did not go out. They stayed at home with their families and were traditional families again. I do not think it was as much fright as just realizing what was important. It made us remember our good old American values as God, family, and work.

I sat over at the old Davis' Place in Huntington a few nights because my friend Becky was a bartender there. There were very few customers do I stayed there with her.

It was the saddest time in our country in my lifetime but it brought us together and brought back patriotism. We had American pride.

I will never forget September 11, 2001.

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