Rep. Jim Himes gets pleasant surprise upon landing Sunday night
Published 12:15 pm, Thursday, May 5, 2011
Jim Himes got off the Wall Street-bound 4 train knowing something terrible had happened.
"I was on my way to work," Himes said Monday morning. "The subway stopped, and it didn't go any farther. People were running and screaming into the subway onto the 4 line. I'll never forget the moment.
"I looked up and saw that one of the World Trade Center towers was on fire. People were standing in the middle of Broadway. Seeing one of them on fire struck me as being very serious, but when I saw the second one was on fire, my heart just went cold."
That was when Himes, now the Democratic U.S. congressman representing Connecticut's 4th District, was an executive at Goldman Sachs, and long before his entry into politics.
Himes, a Greenwich resident, mourned along with a community that felt a heavy burden after the attacks and paid close attention as U.S. forces hunted for Osama bin Laden.
Then came Sunday night, when Himes felt a completely different emotion at the end of a trip.
The congressman spent the weekend in Vancouver, where one of his cousins had gotten married. He had just completed a cross-continent flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York when he looked at his Blackberry and saw a stunning message: U.S. forces had killed bin Laden and President Barack Obama was set to announce the news to a national TV audience.
The victory against bin Laden, he said, "caps almost a decade of very seriously degrading his organization."
"I'm stunned by the ability of our military and intelligence officials," he said.
Himes spent Monday morning in Greenwich and flew to Washington, D.C., later that evening.
Himes said he hoped that, like the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, bin Laden's killing would help bridge the partisan divide in Washington.
"Nine-eleven and (Sunday night) invite us to reflect on the many profound things we have in common as Americans," he said.
"Just like an event like the shooting of Gabby Giffords reminds us that we have a fragile system, Sunday's victory is a reminder that we can do pretty impressive things together."