Editor's note: The following is a retrospective vignette remembering the events of Sept. 11, 2001, in light of the death of Osama bin Laden.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was working in the automotive industry as a buyer under contract to General Motors Co. I had to drive from my offices at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Mich., to GM's office in Pontiac for a meeting that, when I arrived, had been canceled.
As I was driving back to my office, I called our team's administrative assistant to let her know. She asked me if I knew what was happening, and I said "no." Her voice breaking, she said, "Turn on the radio."
When I heard that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, I immediately thought of the equally infamous day nearly 60 years earlier when Pearl Harbor had been bombed and wondered if the shock and rage I felt was the same my grandparents and older uncles had also felt. That day propelled my grandfather into the Navy to eventually fight on the beaches of Normandy and my uncle into the Army Air Corps (now Air Force) to fly B-29s over Tokyo.
I managed to pull over to the shoulder and called my parents. Not two minutes after my father picked up the phone, I could hear my mother's gasps and cries as they saw the second plane hit.
Upon return to the Tech Center, I found televisions on in all the conference rooms and joined my coworkers in watching the non-stop coverage. The normal business operations of the business giant for whom we worked had ground to a halt along, I imagine, with the entire country.Comment on this story
About an hour after my return to the office and before all planes in the air had been accounted for and grounded, security came through to advise us that GM Headquarters in downtown Detroit was being evacuated based upon intelligence that there might be more attacks coming, specifically against commercial headquarters, and GM was among the rumored targets. Those of us who worked at the Tech Center were sent home as well out of an abundance of caution.
While Osama Bin Laden's death does not automatically end the war on terror or shut down Al Qaeda any more than Hitler's death, which was announced May 1, 1945, ended WWII or shut down Nazism, it is nevertheless a huge victory.
I hope that it is remembered throughout history in the same way as other great victories are remembered.
Melissa Weber is a chaplain, editor and writer who moved to Castle Rock, Colo., from her native Michigan in December 2009. She enjoys the beauty of the West and all of the adventure it offers.