Tuesday, September 11, 2012
September 11, 2001
It was 6 am on a beautiful morning in San Jose California. I was in the master bathroom getting ready to go to work. My husband was lying comfortably in our huge (made for a queen bed). In our very comfortable bed we had a television placed under the canopy and Tony was watching the morning news. In a matter factually voice Tony said "Come here, Ruth" On the television it was unbelievable the scenes before our eyes. As many would say later, it was like a Hollywood production. The weather was perfect, The camera work well orchestrated. Having worked in a military environment for many years I was anxious to get to work as soon as possible. I was trained during the Gulf Wars, the 1989 earthquake and various other experiences about some of the safety, security that needed to be done during a diaster/terror threat situation. I had recently left the military envirnment to work for a commercial company. The company was recently purchased by a Israel based parent company to be a subsidiary for a one-stop shop to wafer /chip manufacturing. Ours was a dicing wheel manufacturing plant located in Santa Clara, California. What was so unique about this place of employment was the diversity of the employees. There were few American born employees at this plant. Management was exclusively from Isreal and mostly had been in the United States less than a year. Most of Engineering was Asian, but all of Asia, Chinese, Japanese, Thailand, Korean, India, Hong Kong, the Philippines. Manufacturing was primarily Hispanic from Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Quality Control and shipping was often handled (but not exclusively) by Asian women with very small hands and a very delicate touch. Supporting staff Human Resources, Purchasing, Shipping, were a mixture of all nationalities From my cubical I heard telephone conversations in every language around the world, we were there 24 hours a day to communicate with the world. There were very few days that all offices around the world were open on the same days. It was a great place to work in so many ways. So being the Quality Engineer System Manager, I rushed into work and reported straight to my boss. My head was full ideas of what needed to be done. Okay we should shut down all computers; We need to back up all data as of today. We should identify all equipment possibly dangerous to employees in case of a bomb attack. Examples of this was melting pots filled with liquid in excess of 500 degrees etc. Just then the other Jewish managers came in and said , “Ruth, do nothing. Do not panic. In Israel, we live in terror every day. What America is experiencing today is what Israel experiences every day. They are terrorists." And it was true every day in the news at that time suicide bombs were blowing up buses full of people, senselessly walking into markets and blowing up innocent people. I asked my boss. "What do they want?" and my boss answered they want people to be afraid, they did not want us to give them anything except our peace of mind. AS time proved this is exactly what they wanted. No money, no freed prisoners, no cause satisfied, they just wanted to terrorize us. It took several days before the media started to encourage the public to do as my bosses had already instructed me. Go on with life as normal. Do not let them win. Do not let them take away your life. There were many days when no planes were heard in the sky. There were many days the television stayed on in the break room. On the day that the planes were once again able to fly, I with a group of diverse co-workers went out to the parking lot and lit a candle and watched as the first plane of several days fly over the plant. In conclusion, I know I am blessed in life. But it is most fortunate that on that day I was helped and mentored by a group of Jewish bosses that knew exactly what was going on and helped me through that day and the days that followed. The bosses let me plan and execute a huge Thanksgiving dinner that year. I was able to explain to the people the meaning of Thanksgiving as a Thanks for being in America.