Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11 - Memorial Wall - Columbus, OH

This memorial wall is located at Richter Park at the corner of Front and Long Street in downtown Columbus, OH.

Richter Park was originally created (2000) as a way of honoring workers.  It has been expanded since 9/11/2001 to include those workers who lost their lives on that tragic day.

The question is asked a lot - "Where were you on __________"  ?  VE Day, VJ Day, Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy Assassination.  Now we often hear it for September 11.

Where was I?   I was working in downtown Columbus as a computer consultant.  I was on the 5th floor of the Leveque Tower.  The day was beautiful.  Blue skies and a few clouds scattered. Very typical for the season.  You could see for miles in any direction.  The view was crystal clear, the air crisp and clean.

9/11/2001 looked very similar to this day.
This view is from the street corner of the memorial.
(Image taken 9/10/2011)
I was working on my assignment and listening to the local talk radio station.  I remember that there were a few breaking items - a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  At first, no one seemed alarmed as the reports had also mentioned that smaller planes had crashed into the twin towers before.

Then more reports came in, a second plane had crashed into the other tower.  What it going on?  My first thought is that something must be going wrong with the flight tower and they are directing planes wrong.  I remembered that the cafe on the second floor had a TV and they would play the morning news.  I jumped into the elevator and went down to the second floor.  When the doors opened, there was already a crowd  of about 20-25 people watching the news.  Then the reports started coming in about people trying to get out of the buildings, and the Pentagon...Flight 93....I looked around and most people looked in shock or were just stunned.  A few were crying, unable to hold their emotions in.

Then we got the call to begin evacuation of downtown Columbus.  There were no plans back then on mass evacuations.  The Columbus police and fire teams did a great job of making the best out of the situation they were given.

There were so many cars trying to leave downtown, I knew that I did not want to sit in that kind of I found a restaurant that was still open and had lunch.  Life is what it is and if something is going to happen to you it doesn't matter if I'm downtown eating lunch or sitting in traffic.  I wasn't married or blessed with children then, so I was only needed to be concerned with my safety at the moment.  My parents live in PA, so I did try and get a hold of them, but the cell lines were jammed.  A few hours later I was able to contact family and everyone was alright.

The rest is history, as they say....and we all have our own stories to tell of that day.  I consider myself lucky and blessed and I continually pray for those who lost, have been lost and those that chose to sacrifice all to help their fellow man - even ones they do not know.

True heroism is in front of us every day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

"A Christmas Story" House

1983 and 1989 are years that I will never forget.  1989 is significant because that is the year that "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" was released.  Before that, though, was the release of "A Christmas Story" in 1983.

For me, Christmas cannot be without a viewing of both of these classic movies.  What makes "A Christmas Story" that much more significant to me now is that the house that some of the movie was filmed at is located in Cleveland Ohio!!  The official website has the whole back story, and you can check it out for yourself if you wish.

Along with the actual house, there were two other houses purchased in close proximity.  One is a gift shop and the other is a museum.  They too are worth checking out.

The staff was great and a tour is provided for a fee.  It is not very expensive and well worth it.   When I was there, the actor that played Randy was also there!  Double bonus!

This house is a great piece of nostalgia as well as Hollywood history.  If you are in the area, make time to check it out.

The infamous bathroom!!  Where Ralphie had to endure LifeBouy and decoding
'Lil Orphan Annie's message with the decoder!
Ralphie's Bedroom

Each pin represents locations where visitors came from to see the house.
Note on the right, those are international flags!!