Fifth World Art by Robert Neff
ebook - Reconnecting With Life by Robert Neff

ebook: Reconnecting with Life

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When I returned home to support my widowed mother's fight with breast cancer in 2002, I reevaluated my life's journey and direction. Read more...

7 Views of Downtown St. Petersburg

7 Views

Experience the seven views from walkabout photographer, Robert Neff as they offer unique views of St. Petersburg, Florida. The postcard set or prints make a wonderful gift for the home or office. Read more...

writer > stories

Where was I when 9/11 happened?

5 July 2011 by Robert Neff


On 9/11, I was in Seattle at a W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Conference. That morning, I was staying at an old Air Force rugby teammate's house. I was outside sitting on the outside steps waiting for my ride. He comes out and says to come back inside. You need to see this. That is when I first heard and then saw the news.

I eventually made it to the conference where we teleconferenced with everyone from around the world. We would go out into the hallway to watch the news on the television and others would be online reading and chatting. From New York City, there were people with disabilities on the phone and chat asking questions that we could not answer.

The group's consensus was to end the conference that day. However, those who traveled could not get a flight or a car. The hotels did not lower the rates for those who had no place to go. People were doubling up in rooms to reduce costs because all the hotels. I had tried getting a car to drive back, but there were no cars or flights to be had. I was lucky to have a place to stay at no cost. I remained in Seattle for the next week and a half. I was self-employed and I was very lucky to have a place to stay.

My friend and I went to Seattle's peace memorial. This was the city's gathering place to show solidarity. The crowds gathered nightly to show their support and to offer condolences and sympathy. People were leaving flowers and notes for others to read. People were shedding tears and hugs were being shared.

For the remainder of my stay, I toured the city and we hiked the Cascades. I used Seattle's bus system to visit sites and explore the different parts of town. Security at the space needle was visibly increased. I became very acquainted with Seattle’s coffee shops. I also spoke with Seattle's homeless population and learned how they managed living in the city. Many wondered how something like this would impact them. Everywhere you turned the mood was somber.

As I walked Seattle’s streets, I wondered what would happen to an already struggling economy as it faced war. Life had just changed for us all,

Now, my thoughts were focused on how the nation would react and come together, how our leaders would lead and the military mobilization and their impact. All those questions would soon be answered.


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Steel Cross at World Trade Center after 9/11


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