I was in Nashua, NH, helping set up for the 2nd-day of an outdoor industry regional rep show. Post-show, the plan was to pick up my then-girlfriend Marie and head to my folk’s place on Cape Cod, where I was going to ask her to marry me.

I don’t remember exactly where I was on the show floor that morning, but someone said a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. A small TV by today’s standards was quickly wheeled out, and everyone gathered around only to watch in horror as a few minutes later Flight 175 flew into the South Tower.

As reports of the grounding of all air traffic hit the news, many of my industry friends rushed to rent cars to get home to family. Some driving for days to get home to the Rockies or the west coast.

Marie finally made it to Boston five days later by hopscotching the country on a series of re-arranged flights but I never did ask her to marry me that week. The mood was just too somber.

20 years later we could use a dose of that national unity that arose after the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell.

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