Words from CEO & President Larry Keast:
On Sep 11, 2001 we were watching an NBC interview of an old friend, Don Evans, then our Secretary of Commerce. A minute or so after, NBC confusingly announced that a plane had hit the WTC, and you know the rest. Daughter Erica was a new architect working in lower Manhattan. She called pretty soon saying a plane scared everyone in their office, coming low and fast right over them. Then someone in her office said the first tower had fallen and Erica couldn’t believe it. So she got up on a chair in the restroom where she could see the towers out the top of an open window, and she saw the second tower fall. Understandably, she had considerable difficulty getting through this. Son Garrett lived in upper Manhattan and was asleep at the time until Erica could get a call through. Two weeks later, Erica and Garrett were here on a preplanned weekend trip. There were a lot of fears discussed openly, and it was a good weekend for our family. Garrett said he didn’t think he had a problem, but he woke up one night in a plane turning toward a building… With two of our kids living in NYC, we were shocked watching the whole thing on TV, but being there was obviously something else for them.
The next day Sep 12, Zandra and I left for Ouray, Colorado on a preplanned 6-day Jeep Jamboree adventure. We didn’t feel like a vacation and we listened to NPR continually on the road. No planes were in the air. When we arrived, we met 150 nice folks from all across the nation who felt the same as we did. On the trail, we stopped for lunch at the top of 13,000 foot Imogene Pass. This was the day our President asked us to have one minute of silence but the trail leaders were not planning anything. So before eating I pulled us all together on this spectacular overlook, said a few words, and we had a minute of silence. We all felt good about doing that.
Two months later, Zandra and I went to NYC the weekend after Thanksgiving. Because of 9-11 the planes were half full so we had $86.00 round trips on Northwest and Zandra talked them into upgrading us to first class. Since Garrett worked at the Metropolitan Opera then and they were still lightly attended, we saw Madame Butterfly for $35.00 each.
We went to ground zero Sunday morning along with thousands of people. Pieces of the buildings still sticking up out of the ground, thick gray dust on every ledge. Very somber experience and somewhat healing. God bless America.
At our office we held a flag ceremony this morning.