Where I Was- September 11th, 2001

 September 11th, 2001, I was in Yellowstone National Park with my friends Keath and Tone. We’d camped the night before, so we had no idea, when we headed into the park that morning, of the events in the Eastern United States that would change the world forever.

I’d visited a lot of National Parks, so I thought it a little weird that there were rangers recording our licence plate numbers as we entered the park that morning at 8:45 AM MST (10:45 AM in New York), but I remember thinking it was probably some sort of visitor survey. The ranger who checked our pass into the park said nothing to us, and we proceeded into the park with absolutely no knowledge of the day’s tragic events. 

Clueless, at 9:23 CDT, of the events in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania (Firehole Falls)
We did three separate short hikes, and it wasn’t until we were sitting on the benches at Old Faithful, waiting for the world’s most famous geyser to erupt that I got a clue that something was wrong. I overheard a conversation… something about the World Trade Centers, and thought it was weird to here the mentioned all the way out here in Wyoming. Maybe there was just another trial of the bombers in the attempted 1993 bombing. I put it in the back of my mind and figured I’d check the radio in the car after we watched Old Faithful do it’s thing.
Still no idea at 3:45 CST

It was 4:45PM MST when we made it back to the car. Unfortunately, given Yellowstone’s remoteness and elevation, we were only able to get bits and pieces of radio station news broadcasts as we drove back to our campground in West Yellowstone. It was disturbing, but clear, something had happened, a lot of people were going to be dead when the rubble settled, but we got got such little detail that what had happened was still a mystery to us when we arrived back at the campsite. I’d intended to call my mother from the campground’s payphone (September 11th is her Birthday), and when I did she was able to give me the horrible details. I remember the feeling of numbness and the tears that followed like it was yesterday. I returned to the campsite and broke the news to Keath and Tone. There was no TV at the campground, so Tone and I drove into West Yellowstone and watched an hour of the chilling coverage on CNN at a bar. By the time we made it into West Yellowstone, it was already dark in New York City. 

We decided, after much debate, to continue on with our trip instead of driving home. As we talked about it, driving home and obsessing over the news coverage would have been silly. We carried on with the trip, with heavy hearts. 

Where were you on September 11th, 2001?

One Response to “Where I Was- September 11th, 2001”

  1. Susan says:

    What I remember most about September 11th was how it impacted news broadcasting on both network and cable news stations. I watched the coverage at work (in a school with TVs in every classroom – remarkable at the time), believe it or not, on ESPN. Before September 11th, news stations would run a ticker along the bottom of the screen only for important breaking news stories for a news cycle or two. September 11th was the day the news ticker at the bottom of the news stations started…and never went away again.

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