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I had a flight home on Sept 11, 2001.

I was in Calgary in September 11, 2001 on a business trip.

I had recently moved from Ottawa to be on my own for, really the first time, to live in Vancouver. I was 22, working for IBM and new to the tech industry, having taken advantage of the dot-com-boom.

At 7:15am or so I went to the lounge for breakfast, at the Sheraton Cavalier hotel in Calgary to meet a colleague. We were in town to do a project assessment at a client downtown. When I walked into the lounge, all of the TVs had ABC News on, and the whole lounge was buzzing about a plane having hit the World Trade center.

Thinking, as I'm sure many did that morning, "Idiot pilot", Tony and I grabbed our laptop bags and headed to the car to drive downtown. I remember like it was yesterday: We were listening to the radio when the music cut-out and the News cut-in to inform us that a second plane had hit the World Trade center.

The news continued for out entire trip downtown - we had been stuck in rush-hour traffic. By the time we parked the car, Peter Jennings had come on to say that one of the towers had collapsed.

Doing our best to belay our shock - we had a job to do - we continued into the customer site; but the day was a wash. Inside, everyone at the client was huddled around TVs watching the reports recounting the pentagon having been struck and the falling of the second tower. I remember the rumors. 

"There were 5 more hijacked planes in the air"
"The US Airforce had shot down planes"
"Los Angeles and Chicago had been attacked"

There was such disinformation in the early hours of this horror. When we heard that all air traffic in North America was to be grounded, and the downtown core of Calgary was under mandatory evacuation, Tony and I headed back to the hotel to figure out what to do next.

Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton accepted hundreds of re-routed flights, literally filling their runways. I spent the night in Calgary and decided to drive to Edmonton the next day as the rumors were that they had an open runway and that air traffic would resume soon there.

Tony rented a second car and decided to drive back to his home in Ottawa (and did it in 28 hours straight). I did drive up to Edmonton, where I stayed downtown and hung out with White_Fox, one of my best friends. It was 2 more days marooned in Edmonton before my travel agent (yes, we had agents back then :) managed to get me on an Air Canada flight to Vancouver

I remember arriving at the airport in Edmonton and seeing machine-gun-armed Canadian forces members in the terminals, and two runways obvously clogged with 747s and other trans-continental flights that had been diverted. But I took my middle seat and was just happy to be able to get home; a lucky few who could. Vancouver, when I landed had a similar scene of runways clogged with planes and an airport that was absolutely packed to capacity.

I guess we all knew it at the time, but this horrendous tragedy would ultimately change our entire world. I saw "ground zero" for the first time last summer, when I stayed across from it at the Marriott. Even as a Canadian, it was a scene that evoked great emotion.

Looking back ten years, it's funny how everything feels like it was just yesterday - but so much of my life, and the world around me is so very different.

A world's hearts and prayers continue to go out for everyone who has lost someone, and for those who died that day.
I also want to offer my most sincere thanks to everyone who has selflessly chosen to serve their countries at home, and over seas.