Ask Herb Schmidt, president of Contract Freighters Inc. (CFI) what he remembers most about September 11, and he will tell you first about CFI's drivers and the way they responded:
"I have never, ever seen drivers unified like they were after the terrible events of September 11th," he recalls. "I had drivers in droves – owner-operators and company drivers – calling me and saying, 'If you need to take loads to New York or Washington, I'll go; send me. I'll volunteer my time. You don't have to pay me. I'll just go for free'. I could have sent 100 drivers out."
Schmidt himself was actually in Washington, D.C. that day.
"After the attacks, it was impossible to get through the traffic, so I ended up in a restaurant in Baltimore," he told Fleet Owner. "It was packed with other stranded people just like me who could not make it out of the city. There were strangers of every race and background crying, talking and hugging one another. "Time tends to dull the edges of pain and memory, to heal the wounds, but things have changed. For example, we gave all our drivers American flag decals for their trucks last year after September 11th," Schmidt said. "This year, the drivers wanted more, so we are adding a second flag at their request. Like us all, I think they are remembering."