The song, ‘Where Were You’ by Alan Jackson hits me hard when I think about that day 18 years ago. I remember that day so vividly, and I was a lucky one, with no connections to any of the horrific attacks.
The Days Leading to 9/11
My dad and I owned and operated our little flag company, we ran the business out of the basement of my home. Our only employee, Steve, my brother-in-law, had major brain cancer surgery on Friday, September 7th. Being that it was my family, I was at the hospital all day Friday.
Monday, I had a site visit scheduled for an event I was planning. Needless to say, I was way behind on my work leading into 9/11. Monday night, the Denver Broncos season opener was a win vs. the NY Giants, but I also remember Ed McCaffery’s broken leg.
The Day We Will Never Forget
Those who don’t know me, I have a very strong work-life balance, when I am at work, I am 100% at work. Working out of my basement, once I came upstairs from work, I never went back down. However, about 12:20 AM on September 11, 2001, I woke up in a panic. I was wide awake and thought, I need to work, I went downstairs intending to work for an hour or so until I got drowsy. I never got did, and ended up working until 6 AM. My plan was to shower, get the kids up early, go to the bank, get the kids donuts, drop them off at school, and go to my Tuesday morning Women’s Bible Study at church.
I was getting ready when Brent called from work to tell me to turn on the TV. He often would call to tell me about big stories, since he worked at the Denver Post. I am not a huge newsy, and would usually would ignore him and read about it later. So, in Kim fashion, I ignored him and went on with my morning. Less than 30 minutes later he called again. This time, I turned on the television and was paralyzed with the news. It was devastating, but it never occurred to me that this was a terrorist attack or even a huge moment in history. After watching the news, I went on with my day, bank, donut store, school, and church.
As I was walking into church, Brent called again, he told me I needed to go home and order more flags. I thought he was insane, why would I need more flags? He urged me to do it, so I immediately left church and went home to order flags. Looking back, I ordered a total of 55 flags, which was a huge order for me at the time. After I ordered the flags, I was glued to the television, watching the coverage. It was so surreal.
The Days Following
The next day changed my life forever. Everyone wanted a flag. The phone rang off the hook. Our voicemail would fill up as soon as messages were retrieved, customers were lined up out my door. I hired my aunt and my neighbor to help out. Steve, my brother-in-law came in, with his head all bandaged, and he retrieved messages off voicemail, all day long. We sold everything we had that was red, white, and blue.
I honestly don’t remember much about news, the world, or the victims. I was focused on helping color our community red, white, and blue. We outgrew my home and moved Custom Flag Company a couple years later to our current location. We went from me, my dad, and Steve (who was working part-time) to 13 employees. In 2001, we sold 410 American flags leading up to 9/11. In 2019 we have sold 1,400 United States Flags to date.
Where were you that September day when the world stopped turning?