by Bernie Tatro
I was at work as Director of Marketing for Jerome Medical in a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia. Someone received a call about the first attack, and I brought up CNN on my PC to get details. There was general shock among the employees. After the attacks on NYC, I thought this might be a first attack on major cities around the U.S. and suspected Philadelphia might be on the target list. I called my wife at home (fortunately about 20 miles from Philly, so probably not on any target list), and I suggested she fill available containers with water in case supplies were cut off. I was concerned that this might be the beginning of attacks on infrastructure, so water, power, etc., might be at risk. In any case, “Plan for the worst; hope for the best.” I also asked her to stay in the house, but she said we needed food, and so went for groceries, which was her normal routine, anyway.
As we now know, things got worse as the second tower was hit, both towers fell, the Pentagon was hit, and brave passengers fought the terrorists and sacrificed their lives bringing the plane down in Pennsylvania. Everyone remained at work, but we were all depressed and distracted. Meanwhile, available ambulances from Philadelphia and elsewhere raced to New York to help. I lived about 5 miles from the office and had no difficulty getting home, or to work the rest of the week. Fortunately, I had no need to go through Philadelphia; don’t know how it was there. The only noteworthy thing about driving was courteous behavior. Drivers waved to each other and readily yielded right-of-way.
The following weekend, I attended a business meeting. Fortunately, it was within driving distance, so I was not affected by the grounding of commercial airplanes. When I returned home on Sunday, I found all my neighbors gathered together in the yard of the house next door. There was no occasion, other than a desire to just “be together.” We were kind of an extended family, and it was comforting to be together.
My father enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor. I think after this I knew how he felt.