Arriving at September 11, 2001

On Friday morning, September 7th, 2001, Northwest Flight #684 left Minneapolis and landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, around 1:30 p.m.  Allan and I were on it as we traveled to be part of the annual convention of the National Public Works Association.  A Hertz rental car awaited us in this City of Brotherly  Love.  Four days later our lives, and the lives of all freedom loving people, were changed forever.

Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, and where American flags have now flown for over two centuries, was only a short walking distance from the grand and elegant Marriott Hotel where we had our room.

The Liberty Bell is located near Independence Hall.  Oddly enough, the historic bell is encased in a very square and modernistic glass and copper building that does not lend a proper atmosphere or gravity to the bell's noble heritage.

The Ben Frankling Bridge, supported by large, 30" diameter airborne cables, is also nearby and within walking distance of the Marriott.  Three modes of traffic use this bridge to cross the Delaware River, including commuter trains on the bottom level and cars and bikes on the upper level. 

Many of our Public Works friends from Minnesota help to make these annual conventions to various cities around the country fun and memorable occasions for us.  Hi, Jan and John Flora from Fridley.   Have you seen your photos in  "Doing Deer Run"?

If historic monuments and night activities and convention halls are located within walking distance in downtown Philadelphia, why had Allan rented a car?  In order to visit Valley Forge, a village on the Schuylkill River northwest of Philadelphia.  It was the site of the Continental Army headquarters from December, 1777, to June, 1778.  George Washington and his encampment were subjected to severe winter weather that caused extensive illness, suffering, and death.  Each of the 400 log cabins housed a dozen men.  Only 3,000 men survived.

Dozens of deer forage and roam the grounds of Valley Forge as sheep in a pasture.  They are not tame, but they are also not wild.  And they are smaller in size than the whitetails of Minnesota.

We also used the rental car on September 8th to visit Atlantic City, New  Jersey, which is a couple hours east of Philadelphia, on the ocean side.  This is the city made famous in recent times by Donald Trump and other investors.

Allan especially wanted to see the famous Boardwalk, which became a household word among lovers of the game, Monopoly.  As an engineer, Allan marveled at its apparent cost and quality of construction.  It is composed of teak 2x4's screwed in place.  Casinos line one side of the Boardwalk.  They have famous names like those in Las Vegas … Bally's, Caesar's Palace, etc.

Beaches of the Atlantic Ocean line the eastern side of the Boardwalk.

Some people fish from the reefs built near the Boardwalk.

Allan was very interested in the construction of the support structure under the Boardwalk.  Big slabs of cement, vertical and also horizontal, provide a lot of the support.

On the way back to Philadelphia we spotted the Renault Winery and stopped for a tour, but they had just closed their doors for the day.  Oh, well.  The scenery was interesting.

That night we were treated to exceptional dining at The City Tavern.  That's Allan, Steve Gatlin, and Lloyd Pauly.  Seated are Rosalie Pauly, Chris Gatlin, and Ms. Orsen.  The City Tavern first opened its doors in 1773, when Philadelphia was the largest, most cosmopolitan city in British North America.  It exudes the atmosphere of an authentic London tavern.  In 1774, members of the First Continental Congress used it as a gathering place.  Men like George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed its hospitality.  Thank you, Lloyd and SEH consulting firm.

This editor was especially intrigued by the after dinner music of Elizabeth Boggs and the historic harpsichord at the City Tavern.

The Public Works Convention officially opened on Sunday, September 9th.  APWA calls it "The Best Show in Public Works."  It included over 500 vendors, 150 educational sessions.  Speaker Ed Rendell, former mayor of Philadelphia, said, "Publics Works people are like umpires in a baseball game.  They do a great job but mostly get noticed only when they make a poor call."  The keynote speaker was Doris Kearnes Goodwin, Pulitizer Prize winner for her book of LBJ.  She's also written biographies on FDR and JFK and is currently working on Abraham Lincoln.

Approximately 8,000 Public Works people and their spouses traveled from across the USA and Canada to network and learn about new equipment and procedures in the field.

One of our good friends from Minnesota (Minnetonka, to be exact) mans the exhibit by Advanced Storage Technology.  It's always good to see you, John and Betty Ann Kirtland.

That very Sunday night we attended the large Get Acquainted Party at the Convention Center.

All of the 8,000 registered participants are invited.  There was a '50's theme this year so some of the ladies were wearing poodle skirts.  Not this lady!

When this car came off the assembly line, this editor wasn't old enough to drive it.  It's a 1957 Chevrolet. 

I was persuaded by the owner of this car to have my picture taken as the Lady of the Highway that I am! 

It was a great honor to meet Benjamin Franklin. 

Allan spent Monday, September 10th, at the educational sessions while I strolled the streets of Philadelphia and became acquainted with the old Historic City Hall and the Historic Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul.  That setting sun highlighted the city skyline.

The next day was Tuesday, September 11th.  Everything changed.  The World Trade Center in New York City was attacked.  I watched it live from my hotel room, alone.  Then the Pentagon was attacked.  It was unbelievable and it was also true.  How awful.  And then a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.  Allan joined me in the hotel room after his classes.  We were glued to the TV until that evening when the Minnesota Chapter decided to honor its dinner reservations on the Spirit of Philadelphia.  The mood was somber for Mike Eastling and all others as we cruised the Delaware.

Pres.-Elect Joel Schilling of the Minnesota Chapter (MPWA) waited to address his constituency.

There was prayer.

There was the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of God Bless America.

There was delicious food.

Everything looked the same the next morning, but it wasn't.

All flights were cancelled.  We invited Joel Schilling and his wife Wendy, who are from Mahtomedi, to join us on our 23-hour trek back to Minnesota.  Thank God we kept the key to our rental car, for they were impossible to obtain after America was attacked.  That very large piece of luggage had to sit in the back seat between Joel and Wendy.  We managed fine, arriving back in Victoria the night of Thursday, September 13th.  There was no better place to be than home.

And I felt like there was another crack in the Liberty Bell.

The End

Love, Sue