Armstead Maupin’s close call on Sept. 11, 2001
The anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks against the US always reminds Armistead Maupin of how precious life is.
The author of the popular Tales of the City series of novels and many other books had traveled from his home base in San Francisco to New York City 14 years ago to attend a memorial for Robert Jones who had edited Maupin’s novel The Night Listener.
‘(Publisher) HarperCollins offered me two possible return flights to San Francisco the following day — September 11 — and I chose the later one, since I didn’t want to get up early. The flight I declined was United 93, the one that crashed in Pennsylvania,’ Maupin wrote in a Facebook post on Friday (11 September).
On September 11, 2001, four passenger airliners bound for California from East Coast cities were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex.
Writes Maupin: ‘Rising late at the Soho Grand Hotel I had an unobstructed view of the other two planes as they hit the twin towers.’
A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the the headquarters of the US Department of Defense while United Airlines Flight 93 – the flight Maupin would have been on – crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers.