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Cybulski: Nine years later, reflections on the impact of 9/11

James Cybulski
9/11/2010 2:22:56 PM
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Much as an older generation remembers where it was when it first heard John F. Kennedy had been shot, 9/11 has become a symbolic day.

On September 11th, 2001, I was working in Vancouver, preparing for the first day of the Vancouver Canucks' training camp. The Brian Burke-led Canucks had come off their first playoff appearance in five years and expectations coming into the season were high.

My phone began ringing non-stop around 6 am local time. My first thought was 'I've been out west for a year now, and my parents still haven't figured out that I'm 3 hours behind!'. The phone kept ringing and ringing. I finally got up to answer it and it was my camera guy, Dwayne Mitchell.

"This had better be good," I said, somewhat annoyed.

"Are you watching TV right now?" he asked.

"No."

"You need to turn on the TV."

In a classic short-sighted "sports guy" mindset, I asked, "Big trade?"

"Bigger."

"What channel?"

"Any single one."

What I saw next was one of the most surreal sights I - like almost all of us - had ever seen.  I got a call from my newsroom instructing me that our work day was cancelled. It was impossible to even consider being able to feed my story back to head office via satellite, given the global demand for covering the tragic events from New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The world around us changed significantly after what happened that day. For those of us in the sporting world, we need only look at any point that we walk into an arena or stadium on a game day; security checks for both fans and media. There are random searches.

It's a far cry from a time - just days before 9/11 - when you could've walked into a building with 10 big unmarked boxes and no one would have thought twice about it.

A lot of our innocence was lost after that day. A member of the Los Angeles Kings scouting staff was a victim on one of the planes, as was a producer of Monday Night Football.

As a society, it was the most stunning reality television of our lifetime. The world has seen its share of tragedy over the course of human history and time and time again, we get up off the canvas and persevere. This one has taken some time though. I think as a whole, we still haven't fully recovered from those attacks in 2001.

None of us will ever forget where we were that day, and even though it's nine years later, the memory is still as fresh as ever.

Twitter.com/jamescybulski






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