We talk with Rob’s long time friend and riding brother Kevin Morgan, about his eyewitness account of the New York City events on 9-11-2001.
Most of us over the age of 25 remember where we were, what we were doing, and who we were with, on that fateful day in early September, 2001. I had ridden my Yamaha Royal Star to the office that day, and after pouring up a cup of coffee, was at my desk going through the morning’s emails. A coworker send a staff wide message, stating a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. Soon, several of us were gathered in a conference room, watching the events unfold on screen. Thinking a freak accident had happened, and somehow a small plane had flown into the building, we were suddenly horrified to witness a second plane, a large jetliner, plow into the second tower, fire and debris exploding out from the impact. The first words out of my mouth, when I could finally find words to speak, were “We’re under attack.” I’ll go to my grave remembering the images and footage all day from New York, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. It was a defining moment in American history, and a defining moment in many of our lives.
Images forever burned into our memory. Photo by World Trade Center Memorial.
My friend and CMA riding brother Kevin Morgan has even more vivid memories of that day, as he lived and worked in downtown New York City, in a building adjacent to the Trade Center complex. He regularly visited a coffee shop in one of the towers, enjoyed lunchtime concerts and festivities in the WTC park, and often bought a ticket and rode to the top of the towers for the breathtaking views.
The morning of September 11, 2001, Kevin actually had scheduled an interview for another post in American Express, the company he worked for at the time. The interview took him outside the city that morning and across the Hudson River into Newark, New Jersey, to another of AE’s offices.
As Kevin recounts in this interview we shared, the timing of his meeting, the late arrival of his interviewer, as well as a series of other fortuitous events placed him in the incredible position to be safely across the river as the events unfolded, rather than beneath the carnage where his office normally was. It also gave him the horrific panoramic view of the entire tragedy of Manhattan, as the towers turned from fiery candles belching black smoke into the bright blue skies to smoldering ruins that engulfed several square blocks of city in a rolling cloud of destruction.
As Kevin retells his story, he can clearly see it all again in his mind’s eye.
Kevin had recently acquired his motorcycle license, and bought a 1993 Suzuki VS800 Intruder from a Newark police officer. He treasures the photo of that bike that he snapped by the Hudson, the towers gleaming in the background. He didn’t ride it in that day, but that bike brought him much comfort and quiet time in the weeks and months that followed. I owned a ‘93 Intruder myself, same color, at almost the same time as his photo was taken.
1993 Suzuki VS800 Intruder. Such a cool bike.
Kevin mused, “People in New York City, in the months that followed, displayed so much love, grace and compassion towards each other. We walked together through a horrible experience, and rebuilt our lives and our city. I think in these difficult times we’re in today, we could use some of that ‘9-11 spirit’ with each other again.” We couldn’t agree more.
Thank you Kevin, for sharing your story with us. We love and appreciate you. May we all remember, and may we look for ways to share love, grace and compassion with each other in the days ahead. That would be the best way to honor those we lost back on September 11, 2001.
Rob and Kevin
*photos from various free sources- The Trentonian, Reuters, Business Insider, Change, Flight Journal, ThoughtCo, Trade Center Memorial, and the NYPD Aviation Unit.
A few of Kevin’s current steeds just because, well, they’re cool.