The sky was the color it only achieves in autumn, deep blue and with an endless ceiling. A stray wisp of cloud floated above browning, thinning trees. An hour and 15 minutes by Metroliner to the north, the sky looked the same over Manhattan. An hour and 45 minutes to the south, similar conditions prevailed in D.C.
The workday was only starting at Information Today, Inc. (ITI). Cars arrived in the parking lot. Computers chimed as they powered up. The coffee brewed. A busy day lay ahead. Then my cellphone rang with news of a "terrible accident" in New York. And thus an otherwise normal day suddenly became one that I will always remember exactly where I was, the color of the sky, and that lilting chime of Windows, Millennium Edition, opening up on my machine.
All of us at ITI join the world in expressing our empathy for the injured, our grief over the countless dead, our sympathy to the families and friends of those who like us only went to work that day, our outrage at the human indecency we witnessed last Tuesday, our applause for the heroes who have labored in New York and Washington, our support of the country's leaders, and our resolve to weather whatever it is we need to bear in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.
All things that we thought were so important only a week ago have been jogged back into what is perhaps only their proper perspective. Yet now, more than ever, the information community has a job to do—indeed many jobs.
It is you who will now be called to the front lines to help in rebuilding the communications infrastructure of Wall Street, develop and enhance the free world's intelligence knowledge base, work on security and encryption technologies, and handle your own organization's new information requirements.
It has been many years since we have been drawn together in a common cause. Let us take as our example the nonpartisan model that Congress has given us this past week. Let us put away what are clearly now our insignificant squabbles over issues that pale in comparison to the common challenge that we now face.
We at ITI plan to do everything in our power to focus our coverage of the information landscape on the priorities that you will soon be facing.
When does life get back to normal? As some speculate, perhaps never. But as shock, horror, fear, and terror pass through grief, anger, and remorse for what we might have done, let us all emerge resolved to do whatever needs to be done now.