My Nation, 9/11 Found Me Working On A Downtown, Little Rock Hotel

Do You Remember 9/11?

The day our Nation was taken down a couple of notches that day. It was September 11, 2001.

Where were you? Were you with your family, or on your way to work?

What were you doing? Were you a little baby?

Do you Remember? The horror experienced that day, when we lost a towns worth of people in a flash and crash. We would never be the same.

Peabody and the Stephens building across the street

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Standing in the middle of President Clinton Avenue, the Peabody from the River Market, Little Rock, ARThe Stephens building can be seen, as the mirrored building. Little Rock Peabody is across the street to the left, toward the river.the Stephens building  behind the Pulaski County court house.A photo of the Peabody Hotel, from the Little Rock, River Market area, downtown, Little Rock, ARkansasA photo of the Peabody Hotel, from the River Market, downtown, Little Rock, AR
Standing in the middle of President Clinton Avenue, the Peabody from the River Market, Little Rock, AR
Standing in the middle of President Clinton Avenue, the Peabody from the River Market, Little Rock, AR | Source
The Stephens building can be seen, as the mirrored building. Little Rock Peabody is across the street to the left, toward the river.
The Stephens building can be seen, as the mirrored building. Little Rock Peabody is across the street to the left, toward the river. | Source
the Stephens building  behind the Pulaski County court house.
the Stephens building behind the Pulaski County court house. | Source
A photo of the Peabody Hotel, from the Little Rock, River Market area, downtown, Little Rock, ARkansas
A photo of the Peabody Hotel, from the Little Rock, River Market area, downtown, Little Rock, ARkansas | Source
A photo of the Peabody Hotel, from the River Market, downtown, Little Rock, AR
A photo of the Peabody Hotel, from the River Market, downtown, Little Rock, AR | Source

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001

After picking up and / or dropping off sub-contractors, or equipment on the elevator for the first three hours. It was a rare time in the morning when I could stop and take a breather. When I wasn't having to run up and down in the hotel elevator, I would grab my broom, and make a bucket of mop water.

That morning, I had turned the constant cursing coming from the 2-way to low.

I can pick out her mispronounced name "Laura", each time it is barked by one of the big bosses. My immediate boss Dale, doesn't even need a radio, you can hear him all the way across the hotel which spans 3 city blocks. I am tuned into the job, and will respond to any calls or transportation needs.

This was a rough time in my life, I was homeless, living in hotels as I could afford, and staying in my car when I couldn't. I was ashamed to let my family see me in such a bad way. I worked as a construction laborer, and ended up operating the construction elevator.

I was working on the conversion of the Excelsior to the Peabody Hotel, in Little Rock, AR.

Funny how things turn out.

It is September 11, 2001. As the construction elevator sits at rest on the 21st floor of the Excelsior Hotel. In Little Rock, AR. My clipboard sits, atop my metal folding chair that rides the elevator with me.

The doors are open, I am just outside the doors of the elevator. My 2-way radio, is clipped onto my jeans pocket.

The last load of sub-contractors and their tools have been dropped off within the last hour, we are at rest at the top.

The job consisted of ripping everything out of the old suites, and replacing it with newly built rooms and suites that were "Peabody".

During the transition, The Excelsior sold everything that could be hauled out. This included a famous Jacuzzi that allegedly had President Clinton's butt marks in it.

All of us on the labor crew were very poor, but we were thrilled at being so close to possible famous DNA that we lied to each other about the probability of buying that ungainly, and moldy sucker...how funny.

Everyone is at work stations. It is still another hour before breaks would start...

The Little Rock Marriott Formerly The Peabody

A markerLittle Rock Marriott gps coordinates 34.74854,-92.27153 -
3 Statehouse Plaza, Little Rock, AR 72201, USA
[get directions]

(501)906-4000 Back entrance is LaHarpe Blvd runs behind the Marriott, and is parallel with the River Market Parking

Ranger, One of the Electricians Came Running

**I remember it like a photograph. We stood in a baked silence, produced by an icy coldness of black and white. A knowing in the pit of my gut, that our world was now very different.

Colorless, sounds are over-amplified in a twilight zone sort of way.

I was considering sneaking to the roof for a smoke break, when Ranger came running to the hotel elevator banks saying, "...we've been bombed, Lori, we've been bombed by the enemy."

This professional electrician , always busy and cheerful, stood helplessly mouth down turned, tears in his eyes. Holding his small radio by the handle, up and out hoping to push this news away. Ranger and I stood transfixed as we listened to the quickly changing news reports.

With as much calmness as I can muster, I grabbed the two-way radio and spoke as calmly as I could into the microphone, knowing anyone in the hotel could be listening.

"Code 99. code 99. Please turn off your power tools. Turn off machinery, and make your way to a television or radio. Please, calmly make your way to a news media outlet."

Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning - Alan Jackson

We Have Been Hit, And There The President Sits

We were all scared.

My work mates were as diverse as the local college campus. All of us got work at one of those temp agencies that pays workers daily. Most of us were down on their luck, and some were slipping further down. Some, like me were working almost 100 hours per week to break out of homelessness.

I push myself for the day when I could move out of the hotel room, get a real place, and bring my youngest daughter home. We cannot afford to miss work, but we are in a good place to be attacked. We are scared.

- One of the Labor supervisors, Craig, has a brother who works at the Pentagon, none of his family can make contact, they are frightened. On pins and needles we wait for news or more attacks.

We are all scared. Most of the twenty or so laborers I work with are indigent, most are away from family, some even staying under the bridges.

On any job, when a crew works the long hours, weeks and months, they become a substitute family.

After a few hours of waiting and some frantic phone calls, the decision is made by the owners and Contractor, to keep working.

For the rest of the day we worked quietly. Waiting...knowing that those who hated our Country enough to bomb New York City, could do anything. We could be next. In retrospect most of us laborers would probably be unclaimed or unknown should we face the fate of those in the Twin Towers. Relatives didn't know where most of us were.

Our most pressing needs had to be met. It was a slow and hard path home. It was a guilty knowing that if we were sent home that day, we had nowhere to go until right before dark and would miss the hours of pay. Even though we were scared, we were glad for the continuing of the work day.

Each one of us laborers hungered for our family far away.

For me there was a need to be in a better place financially. If I pulled myself up only then would I be able expect love and acceptance from the people I missed day and night. In order to muster enough courage to face loved ones again, I felt I had to be better.

I did not have any family directly affected by the Twin Tower attacks, but knows the story's of many who are / were. It is unimaginable.

The Stephens Building, which houses many federal offices, was evacuated and considered a hot zone. No one, really knew what was happening at that very moment...It changed our Country and world forever.

The Peabody Is Now The Little Rock Marriott Hotel

Time moves us along like winds push a river. The Arkansas Peabody is no more. Since this story the Marriott Suites purchased the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, AR.

Finding the Little Rock Marriott is easy. Making it down President Clinton Ave is usually slow going during business hours, so give yourself plenty of time.

Early morning and evening rush hour keeps Clinton Ave to a crawl.

If you are taking a lunch break it is advisable to walk, or take the trolley. Keep a little cash on hand for the trolley. For guests of the Hotels downtown, they all provide transportation.

© 2010 Lori J Latimer

More by this Author


Comments 21 comments

ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California

This is a very well written and intriguing tale of your expereience on 9/11. My family and I were in Cambodia at the time. The bombings happened at about 8:30 pm Cambodian time but we went to bed before it was reported; so we did not even hear the news until 12 hours after it had happened.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Dear ecoggins, thank you for being the first to read and comment. I don't think many will be able to forget where they were when our Nation was turned upside down. Thank you for sharing your experience too...:0)


bettybarnesb profile image

bettybarnesb 5 years ago from Bartlett, TN

Hey Lilly: You are right. I don't know of anyone who will forget where they were and what they were doing when this happened. I was at work and my co-worker who was watching the news on her computer screamed out and we went over to see what was wrong and witnessed the building caving in. Our hearts dropped.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

dear Ms bettybarnesb, thank you for adding to this story. It jolted us all in many ways. Thank you very much for giving this a read. I love this comment. Thank you. "Our hearts dropped..."


libby101a profile image

libby101a 5 years ago from KY

Amazing but sad story! I had a friend who's son working in one of the towers, she could not make contact with him for a few days... he had survived but had barely made it out of the building before it fell! She had no idea if he was dead or alive! 911 was tragic! God bless everyone who was there or had family there! As Americans we are united as one, and even though this horrid tragedy was meant to separate us... it united us in a way these terrorists will never understand! Voting up!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

libby101a, thank you very much for visiting, and reading this Hub. Your comments are heartfelt, and I thank you for adding to the history of how we were all affected that day and afterwards. Of course nothing ever will compare with those who experienced ground zero up front and personal. The very best to you, and thanks again.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Great article. I remember well. I was a high school administrator. All TVs were on... Not knowing was the worst...


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

dallas93444 Thanks for reading, and adding your comments and history to this. Humans have such funny memories, we didn't really know for a long time what had happened. As unreal as it was that we were 'bombed', it is even more preposterous that planes flew into the towers. Thanks again.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

Such a well written hub about this huge tragedy! I can assure you, that day is remebered also outside America. I can still see before me the films on the news when the planes flew in and through those towers, so unreal, and a also remember how unreal it felt watching this!

Sadly we have had our first suicide bomber here in Sweden too, 11 December in Stockholm, in a street with only Christmas shopping people. Fortunately nobody more than the bomber died. I find no words to describe my feeeling for such acts! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

dear thougtforce, I am so saddened that you had a Suicide bomber in Stockholm, just one week ago. Although the bomber was the only one killed, it was still an attack and violation of a peaceful place.

Thank you very much for reading this, and leaving such a stirring and thoughtful comments. I hope the Very Best for you. Again, Thanks.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

What a well written account of where you were at that precise time and the awful aftermath and destruction of lives and buildings.

How very sad a day in American history. I was sitting in a class room with 15 other mates taking my Commercial vehicle tests and the administrator ran in to ask us to come out to the television in the lunch room.

We couldn't believe what we were witnessing, it's something that will never leave my soul, watching those airplanes flying into those twins and the buildings later coming down. How very sad, how very sad indeed. RIP all the people who lost their lives that day.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

WOW very well delivered. I'll never forget that day, I was in my office working alone, my kids were both at pre-school, as I looked on my only thought was, WE MUST BE TOGETHER, it was a feeling like none I've ever known and I knew things had taken a turn that could never be reversed. Love, Peace and JOY! :) Katie


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

saddlerider, thank you so much for your very thoughtful response. This Hub is a time of remembrance, shock and sadness, I think that our nation's leaders stood at the crossroads and could have used this time to draw us all together in a tight-knit nation, but the opposite occurred. Perhaps this one tiny place can knit together our shared history, and hope this is helpful and healing for all.

Mskatiem2, thank you for adding your Love and history to the comments of this hub. "WE MUST BE TOGETHER" has to be the strongest pull a Mother has. Love, Peace and JOY.


Teddletonmr profile image

Teddletonmr 5 years ago from Midwest USA

LillyGrillzit, God bless.

Listening to the radio, watching the TV the impact was the same. The world has changed, or just made us aware of the Truly evil things people do to each other.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Teddletonmr thank you very much for your heartfelt comments. Thanks for coming by for a read. The best to you.

:0)


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

I never know about this before. That's why I join HP, I know what happen outside. Thanks for share with us. Take care! Love and peace....


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I remember that day so well. I was at work in the afternoon, and my friend phoned to say that an aeroplane had gone into one of the towers, I just thought it was an accident, then he phoned again, and said about the other one, then a third phone call about the others. I went over to the desks where people were working and said, you had better put the TV on, something has happened..... when I got home I watched it in horror, there were so many people in those towers, lots of English too, I was horrified, mad, upset, and devastated. We in England have been bombed so many times over the past thirty years, the IRA blew up a hotel with Margaret thatcher and the whole Cabinet in brighton, and of course many hotels and places in london, I have even gone past the place in London where it had just happened. I thought, in my innocence, that it was over, little realising that it was the start of a new form of terrorism from different terrorists. In 7/7 2005 we were bombed badly. The underground stations were set up one by one to explode, and also a bus was bombed. Memories of 9/11 all over again. nell


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Mercy, Dear Nell Rose. In the US, we have been very lucky to not have lived with being mortared. Thank you for sharing your experience(s) with terrorism first hand. Thanks for adding your part to this history. :0)


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Dear Prasetio30, I am sorry I missed your comment, must have posted when I was answering Ms. Nell. Thank you for coming by and adding your part to history. I am glad you are on HubPages, and we became friends. Thank you. 2011 and beyond


barbarajenice 5 years ago

I love reading your stories. Long time reader, first time responder. What a great way to have people reflect to a specific time and place. Its crazy how it still seems like yesterday. I remember being in Dothan Alabama in the lobby of West Inc. They had their television on and the view of the planes hitting the towers just kept playing over and over. I remember being in such a state of shock my immediate response was to go to my children as quick as possible. What a horror it was. May we always remember that time with honor for those who gave the ultimate sacrafice. Great story.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Dear BJ, Thank you for joining. What a beautiful comment, and thank you for adding this history to a day that will never be forgotten. I am now following you, your fan. MOM

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    55pv.12.26.20.10.12:41pm

    Click to Rate This Article
    working