9/11 Terror Attacks Unite Attendees at PRINT 01August 1, 2011
Julie McFarland, CEO, McNaughton & Gunn, Saline, MI
The printing industry is built on relationships and that support was evident at the show on September 11, 2001. McNaughton & Gunn sent a number of people to PRINT 01. We drove from Michigan and met in the hotel lobby just as the first plane hit the World Trade Center. We were saddened, but proceeded to the show under the assumption that it was a horrible accident. We walked from our hotel to McCormick Place and, on the way, met someone who told us about the other planes. By the time we reached the show, the full story was beginning to unfold. We called our plant from a booth to check on everyone at the plant and assure them that we were safe.
At the show, we mingled in small groups unsure of what to do next. The morning's shocking events had shattered the purpose of our visit. Someone stepped forward and encouraged the group to hold hands as a prayer was spoken for those whose lives had been lost. Religion and business aren’t usually mixed, but that day we were bound by the threat to our nation. All of us united in support of the freedoms on which our industry and our country were founded.
We walked back to our hotel. The skies and streets were eerily still. Police stood on many of the street corners. I spoke to one to make sure the freeways were open so that we could go home. We packed our bags. I rode down in the elevator with a gentleman who looked lost and alone. He had flown in and wasn’t able to get home right away. In the lobby, people pooled resources to help those they could get to their families.
The drive home was quiet. The day’s events were still too painful to digest. It was a relief to be home with family. At the plant the next day, people were still dealing with their own emotions, but also ready to take action and help those in need. I truly am proud to be an American, for in tough times like 9/11, our spirit shines brightly in our company, in our community, in our industry and throughout this great country.