9/11 20th Anniversary: The Channel Reflects

The entire world changed that day. We asked some members of the channel to share their personal memories.

Buffy Naylor, Senior Managing Editor

September 10, 2021

18 Slides

Tomorrow is the 9/11 20th anniversary. All of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard about planes flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as the plane that crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers rushed the terrorists.

Nearly 3,000 innocent people died in those attacks: 246 in the four planes, 2,606 in and around the World Trade Center and 125 at the Pentagon. In addition, in the years since the attacks there have been more than 2,000 deaths attributed to 9/11 illnesses.

The attack on America changed the entire world. Our lifestyles, modes of communication, travel and work habits — and, sadly, the way we look at and treat one another — have never been the same.

Sept.11, 2001, was the second day of the inaugural Channel Partners Conference & Expo. It was being held at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.


Threatpoint’s Tara Seals

Tara Seals, then an editor with Channel Partners and now senior editor at Threatpost, was at that conference. A few weeks later she posted a blog on what that day had been like.

Because everyone at the show was essentially stranded due to the grounding of all airplanes, the decision was made to continue with the planned events. The Expo Hall remained open, panel discussions took place, session speakers (including Vince Bradley and PlanetOne’s Ted Schuman) made their presentations and keynotes were delivered.

“No Way to ‘Mark Yourself Safe’”

In looking back on that day, Seals recalls people gathering around televisions trying to learn what was happening, “In the era before smartphones, TV broadcast was the only conduit for information.”

People had cellphones, of course. We all remember the sad stories of last messages that victims left on loved ones’ phones. But this was before the day of phones that could take photos and videos or surf the internet. As Seals notes, “There was no Facebook or social media. No way to ‘mark yourself safe.’ Only a hope that someone would answer the phone.”

No Such Thing as Telecommuting

Seals also remembers that even after people were able to return home, many were unable to return to work. “We couldn’t work from home,” she said. “We didn’t have the technology in place. Eventually they put in VoIP and telecommuting, but this was long before that — and obviously long before working at home from your laptop, keeping in touch, collaborating and getting work done via the cloud and mobile devices and web-based apps.”

“The stark difference between how companies were able to deal with COVID and how companies in 2001 would have had to deal with terror-threat closures — different crisis, same level of risk in many ways — is really notable. Getting employees to agree to not be paid in the event of an issue was actually seen as a viable alternative to address business risk [in 2001]. And obviously the innovation that’s happened between now and then is head-spinning. And it translates directly to how the channel opportunity has changed — not just in terms of what channel partners sell, but how they sell it, the conversations they can have.”

Like Seals, many other members of the channel have vivid memories of that day and how it has impacted their lives. Scroll through the gallery above to share their stories.


Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Buffy Naylor or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Buffy Naylor

Senior Managing Editor, Channel Futures

Buffy Naylor is senior managing editor of Channel Futures. Prior to joining Informa (then VIRGO) in 2008, she was an award-winning copywriter and editor, then senior manager of corporate communications for an international leisure travel corporation and, before that, in charge of creative development and copywriting for a boutique marketing and public relations agency.

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