By JoEllen Black, Publisher

Like most, I didn’t have a front-row seat to the Sept. 11, 2001 devastation. My view was 90 miles away from Ground Zero.

It was a beautiful Tuesday morning in New York and in Hartford, Conn., where I lived. Perfect. Pristine.

My drive-time routine included listening to news radio WCBS in New York. A plane hit the World Trade Center, they said. At that time, it was being considered an accident. Then word came that another plane hit. The announcer took pause, not trying to sound like something from “War of the Worlds.” You could tell he forced his voice to stay calm. You could also hear his nervousness.

When I got to the Hartford Courant news office, police were out in full force. The National Guard Armory across the street was a beehive of activity. Journalists were trying to make sense of a scene of confusion. Within the hour, reporters and four photographers were dispatched to the scene. They stayed overnight there and came back in the morning.

Uncharacteristically, they were quiet. It took awhile before they could articulate what they saw: “It was a war zone.”

You may remember watching people trapped in the mangled, burning trade centers, jumping to their deaths. Those were the bodies found intact, one of the photographers later told me. The majority of the victims’ bodies were annihilated by the explosions. Maybe a piece of a finger could be found, he said. Phones, computers and anything else that goes into an office were blown to smithereens. There were just fragments. The long lines of people waiting to give blood for survivors was for naught.

The complete story is in the Friday, Sept. 9, 2016 Richmond News.

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