That Day

Deborah McAdams is the Executive Editor of TV Technology.

It's impossible to forget that day, when the United States was attacked on its own soil for the first time since Dec. 7, 1941. We all remember it.

I had just moved to D.C. and gotten married the previous June. My husband at the time called. "Turn on the TV," he said. "We're under a terrorist attack. A passenger jet just flew into one of the World Trade Center towers."

The whole of the media was still wondering whiskey tango. Then another plane hit the second tower. By then, we were all catching on.

I was working at home, about five minutes from the Pentagon, for a cable trade rag then. I basically had to monitor what the news networks did. There was Ashleigh Banfield of MSNBC covered in dust, reporting live less than two blocks away from the second tower when it collapsed. I can tell you it felt ridiculous to be at my desk writing about someone who was actually doing.

Then there was a deep and rumbling explosion, not nearby, but close enough to make the ground surge as if shaken like a rug. The sky above my home instantly filled with the sound of jets. I thought it was raining jets. I wondered if I should wait inside to die, or go outside where I could see one coming. The mind is a strange playground. They were fighters from Bolling AFB.

I spent a good deal of the day trying to make contact with friends and acquaintances in New York. Some had seen the attacks from nearby skyscrapers. Most were in shock. One was walking home barefoot over the Brooklyn Bridge, crying.

Ten years later. I'm still in the cockpit, taking notes from an insanely safe undisclosed location. There's no time like the present to be grateful. There never is.