(Note--due to the personal nature of this article, it will be written in the first person).
When I awoke at 5:30 AM on September 11, 2001, I was immediately struck by a most unusual feeling that I had not had in years. A certain sadness seemed to overwhelm me from deep within, but I could not tell where such a feeling was coming from nor why it would be so pervasive.
I was also struck by another unusual occurrence. An old hymn that I had not sung or seen in years came flooding into my consciousness, embedded in my mind like a CD player set on perpetual replay. I had always loved the hymn and found it extremely comforting during some of the most difficult periods of my life.
But why now? Everything seemed to be going well. I was working as a chaplain at a facility that paid me well due to my extensive training. I had started a business with a friend, and it was was also going extremely well. There was no reason for my overwhelming sadness or for the hymn of comfort that flooded my mind.
I went to work to do the early morning shift.
During the last leg of my rounds I came upon a good friend, a Baptist minister, who was having surgery that day. It was roughly 8:55 AM ET. The first thing that came out of his mouth when I walked through the door was, "Look at that!" He pointed to the television on the wall.
The television camera was focused on the World Trade Center. One of the towers had a large, gaping hole in the side with large plumes of black smoke billowing out into the sky.
I said, "What on earth happened?" He replied that they did not know as of yet, but apparently a small plane had crashed into the tower. I remember saying that a hole like that seemed to indicate more than a small plane.
We continued to watch the scene for several minutes, making small talk. And then, sometime after 9 AM, I saw the faint outline of a large jetliner flying dangerously low at a very high rate of speed. I said, "Look at that. What is that plane doing?"