I was too close..longest drive home of my life

September 12, 2007 | WNST Interns

Today started with a friend of mine asking me who died? Why are all the flags at half mast? When I reminded him of the date, he got silent…he felt bad he didn’t realize the date. I just read Bob’s blog and I had been wondering if I should post anything on a day like today…then I turned on ESPN news and heard some positive news, which is always good on a day like today.

Kevin Everett may actually walk again…Kevin is a TE for the Buffalo Bills and a former Miami Hurricane. He left Sundays game not knowing if he’d ever walk or even survive…the news yesterday was grim…but tonight the news after surgery is much more positive…keep Kevin in your thoughts and prayers…

But on this day I was working in building in Northern VA called the Army Times…I was in a meeting at 9am…when my cell phone went off…I rushed to turn it off since my boss hated cell phones going off in his meeting…then it rang again…and again..until I answered….My manger in Missouri told me a plane crashed into the WTC…my first thought was what a terrible accident….I told the members of my meeting what had happened and we paused for a moment and then went about our meeting. My phone rang again…"Zalis, my boss yelled…turn off your damn phone"…I instead politely excused myself and answered it again…and was told about the second plane…I came back into the meeting…and told my boss of the second plane hitting the WTC…at this time we all 10 of us, went into a conference room to watch the news.

The horror…images you and I will never forget…then we got another call…a plane just hit the pentagon. Now this was 15 miles from our office and much too close for any of us…Since our building had the word ARMY on it…they evacuated the building…Living in Baltimore…there was no way to get home…so I went south to a co-workers house…where we watched the towers collapse…the images that are still as alive today as on that day…

About 3pm I finally got a hold of my family to tell them where I was and that I was ok and was headed home…but here is the image that will stay with me forever….driving home I crossed the Woodrow Wilson Bridge…looked to the right and saw the Pentagon…the symbol of strength…smoldering…smoke headed to the sky…it was surreal…this was the USA, this doesn’t happen here!

Four hours later I made it home…not sure what it meant…not sure what tomorrow would bring, but happy to be with my wife and family. On a day like today let’s be thankful we have the freedom to call and complain about Run or Pass on second down.

Have a good night!