My business brought me to the WTC 1-2 days per week for various reasons.
In the fall of 1998, one of my larger clients needed to move out of their midtown headquarters in order to renovate the building before returning.
This renovation was to take a year, but all involved knew it would be between 18 months and 2 years before renovations were complete.
After assisting the client with due diligence on many temporary sites, they settled on THE site...the 102nd floor of WTC Tower 2
About the same time, we began work for another client on the upper floor of Tower 1.
Beginning at this time, roughly half of my workweek was spent at or near the top of one of the towers.
My most vivid pre 9/11 memory was, strangely enough, security related. Every time I visited the buildings, I would stop at the security desk, and get signed in.
Signing into the WTC meant getting a visitors pass, a plastic credit card-sized mag stripe card which allowed access to the elevators.
It had on the face the date that the card was valid for, as well as a picture. The picture was stored on computer, so it was always the same one.
My picture was a horrible (black and white) shot of me in my suit, and because it was likely raining the day the original picture was taken, my tan trenchcoat.
Every day that I returned home with one of these cards, I would hand it to my (then 3 year old) daughter. She called these her "Daddy going to work cards".
I truly enjoyed the view from the "top of the world", spending many days working in a corner office overlooking New Jersey and the Statue of Liberty.
In the summer of 2001, renovations were complete on client #1's midtown building and we began to move them back. We pulled the last bit of gear out of WTC#2 in mid-August. 2 weeks prior to 9/11. Everyone at this company survived, but were stunned by how close they came to tragedy. It was months before many of them stopped looking like zombies.
Conversely, we had just finished deliverables for a project for the other client in WTC#1 the Friday before the tragedy. We were to commence some other work on 9/10, but for some reason, the project was delayed.
While we luckily weren't onsite that day, unfortunately, most that we worked with were. Their data center was likely where the first plane hit.
By the time the towers came down, my daughter had collected over 100 of her "Daddy going to work cards" (my wife had tossed some out over time). I had a tough time explaining to her why the cards stopped coming home.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how things could have gone, and wonder why things work the way they do.