I remember the night before and the day of quite well. Well...sort of. I'd been working at my new job for maybe 4.5 months. EMC, a storage vendor, had sent a guy to do a VCM database upgrade. Turns out, he had no experience doing this sort thing. He called in someone else to help and things only go worse. The real plan - these guys had been planning to attend a strip club *after* the first guy *finished* the upgrade. I know this because they told me. Something was wrong, because when I queried the database, only a small bit of data came back. WTF? Don't work, they said, it's all there. We left sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 AM. We stood in the parking lot talking. A plane few over head and I remarked that I wondered what a plane was doing so late. Someone said that it was probably FedEx. We had no idea planes would be the topic of conversation from here on out.
I got a phone call in the morning around 8:00. Someone was having storage problems. I explained the whole thing, yes, I'd sent an email before I left, and said I'd be in around 9:00. I got to work and a few minutes to 9:00 which is really late for me. That day is actually the latest I've ever arrived to work. No, it's not that I no longer work late,it's having the ability to login from home allows you to login in your PJs. One of the DBAs in Troy, MI called me a bit after 9:00 to tell me that something serious had happened. I'm thinking he's talking about the storage database and relay the story. He tells me - no, something about planes and people getting killed. WTF!!?? I keep working - I had to contact someone at the vendor support site with the knowledge to help me rebuild the storage database; the first guy had over written the database with his "upgrade". I fortunately had saved enough info that we could rebuild the database by hand. Turned out to be a good skill to have.
As the day progressed, news reports made it very clear something unimaginably horrible had just happened. At work, folks setup a telly in one of the conference rooms and peeps went to watch as the horror unfolded. I would step in and out as the database rebuild took all day. I called a guy I used to work with to find out how things were going in CA. True to his personality, he said, "Everyone is making a big deal out this." Yes, he actually said that.
I didn't actually get to watch the first day of the tragedy, but I was glued to the telly for the next several days. It was really something to get your head around. Our naivete to the world around us came to an end that day.