Olson will pause to remember 9/11 by David Lias There was no way that Vermillion native and musician Mitch Olson of Survivor fame could know Sept. 11 would be one of the saddest, most challenging days of his life.
As he left his apartment that morning and boarded a bus headed toward New York City, the sky was blue, the weather was perfect.
"The irony was it was a beautiful day, probably one of the clearest, most beautiful days we had in New York for a long time," he said.
Olson, who lives across the Hudson River from New York City, watched in horror with other people on the bus as the two towers of the World Trade Center were struck by hijacked airliners. "Everyone was frightened when the second tower was hit and we realized it wasn't an accident," he said. "Then it was also very strange because we heard on the news that there were other planes in the air that had still had hijackers but they didn't know where these planes were headed."
Olson drove to the New Jersey airport later that day to pick up a friend that was stranded there. That turned into a nine hour ordeal, mainly because of traffic problems.
By the night of Sept. 11, Olson made it home. And nothing was the same. The majestic twin towers were gone, replaced by a thick cloud of dust and smoke.
This coming Wednesday, Olson and millions of others living in the New York area will likely be taking time to remember the terrorist attacks of a year ago.
"It's going to be more of a memorial for all of us, a day to reflect," he said. "It doesn't seem that anybody that I know is nervous or feeling like something of that caliber is going to happen again. I think we simply feel that the day is coming where we look back over the last year and wish it never happened."
A rather routine view from his bus the evening of Sept. 10 last year is etched in Olson's mind.
"The night before this happened, on the way home my bus goes
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over this hill, and once it does, you have the most clear, beautiful shot of the city. I remember looking back at the Trade Center and one of the buildings was lined up exactly with the other and it looked like there was just one," he said. "I remember thinking how strange it would be if there was only one tower.
"The next day, I was so shocked when the first one went down," Olson said.
Today, the tallest structure that can be seen from Olson's window is the Empire State Building.
"It's really difficult to look at the skyline, because I really, like everyone else, miss the twin towers," he said.