Paul Werner: On a Boston Bus


We were on a private tour bus, with a group from the Peninsula, just leaving the Boston area. The driver was starting to pick up a little information on his radio, as was our tour guide on her cell. She relayed bits over the intercom as she was getting it. It seemed so surreal that some folks still kept visiting.

A short time later she broke in louder: "Oh my goodness!" Her daughter was a doctor in Boston and had just called her to say that her nurse was getting frightening calls from her husband aboard a plane. He was softly telling his nurse wife what was going on, then said they were going to rush the guys going to the cockpit. That was the end of the call, and of course, that was from United Flight 93. We had just gotten a second-by-second briefing of that most heroic act! At each bus stop, we were all more interested in piling in anywhere where we could see something more on TV than we were visiting what we had stopped for.

While we were being seated at the restaurant that night, our group leader asked me if I would talk to the group for a few minutes before we ordered. I didn't know hardly anyone in the group, but some did know others. What do you say? Should it be religious? There wasn't even time to think. Everyone was seated, looking at me! The most impromptu remarks I have ever made!

(As an aside -- thoughts about a travel agent/tour planner: The group was ready to leave, but planes were still all grounded in Boston. You have to round up hotel rooms and meals for 40 people -- now! And everyone else is doing the same thing because no one is leaving. But everything is already overbooked -- solid -- because no one has left with everything shut down. My wife and I were joining up with a different group the following week. So we just had dinner with the original group, wished them well, and took a cab over to our second hotel -- where the pre-reserved room awaited us. In talking to this group later, they were very pleased with the company that had arranged things because they took care of them very nicely. And that company had four identical groups that they had to make these arrangements for. The moral is line up a RELIABLE company.)

When we left Boston a week later, the airport was nearly deserted -- except for HUNDREDS of uniformed folks from every branch of the service and law enforcement, all huddled in small groups talking to each other. Silence everywhere except the loud crash of their heavy weapons banging into each other, whenever anyone moved slightly!

Paul Werner

E. Charleston Road

Palo Alto

Return to Sept. 11 remembered

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Rose International Market reopens in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 11 comments | 6,292 views

The Other Greenhouse Gas
By Sherry Listgarten | 7 comments | 1,485 views

We need a new garage downtown Palo Alto -- forget about being politically correct
By Diana Diamond | 11 comments | 1,386 views

Couples: Mirror, Mirror on the . . . Fight?!
By Chandrama Anderson | 3 comments | 1,211 views

Know Before You Buy: Understanding Senior Living Facility Agreements
By Max Greenberg | 0 comments | 755 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details