By Jack Hackley

Every time Sept. 11 comes around, I think about my trip to Chicago in 2001 on that infamous day.

My best friend and client, Cecil Troutwine, who owned Chicago Beer, one of the largest Anheiser-Busch distributorships in the country, called and asked me to come to his office in Chicago. He wanted to talk to me about a farm in Clay County he would like to buy.

I took the early Southwest flight, rented a car, turned on the radio, and was heading down Cicero Avenue to his distributorship on 122nd Street when the first plane flew in to the World Trade Center.

I ran in to his office and told him to turn on the television. We watched the whole thing evolve. I told him I needed to get back to Kansas City. When I got back to Midway, police cars were across the entrance. They had shut down the airport. I got a hotel room and was stuck in Chicago with no way home by plane, train or bus. After the first night I had to buy more clothes.

I went to a restaurant down the street from the Hampton Inn where I was staying. They put me in a dining room where the only other occupants were a group of men sitting at a larger table. That is when I saw they were Arabs, who along with the waiter, were toasting the success of Bin Laden blowing up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

I have often wondered what would have happened if I had followed my instinct, grabbed their champagne bottle, and hit one of them over the head. When I finally got a hold of the FBI to report this incident, they informed me they had received hundreds of calls like mine.

After three days in the hotel, I drove the rental car I wasn’t suppose to take out of the Chicago area back to Missouri, turned it in at MCI at a cost of almost $900.

When I finally got home after four days and a couple thousand dollars in expenses, I called Cecil and said, “Next time you need to talk to me, I will meet you at Denny’s by the Sports Complex in Kansas City.”

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or jackremembers@aol.com. Visit www.jackremembers.com

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.