We were awake and out the door by 7:35 this morning. The boys had actually been awake since 5:30. They were more excited about the implosion than they've ever been about ANYthing, even Christmas. When I went into their room to wake them up, Ian was sitting in the doorway. "I'm waiting for Daddy to tell me it's time to get ready," he said. I cracked up. Apparently, almost 2 hours earlier, Darren had told them to go back to sleep until he came and told them it was time. Ian never went back to sleep.
It's been an event we've been anticipating for months. The 30-story Landmark Tower had been vacant since the late 70s. But the tornado of 2000 was what really did it in; added to the already costly problem of removing dangerous asbestos, the damage the building sustained when hit by the F3 twister was too expensive to fix. And so it was scheduled for implosion.
Last fall, crews dug a huge hole in the ground on one side of the tower, and then started removing debris and years of forgotten junk from inside. We drove by frequently to see if we could make out any progress. Yesterday, we told the boys that it was time: the building was coming down in a giant blast.
They say it's the tallest building in Texas to ever be brought down, and possibly the tallest in the world. The boys are so very proud of the fact that Daddy works in the tallest building downtown, so facts like this are very significant. From Darren's office, we would have the perfect vantage point. At 7:35, we piled into the car and headed off.
As we drove into downtown, we all watched the helicopters that were hovering above. "Those are the TV helicopters," we explained. "They're filming everything so we can see it on TV later." We tried to point out the building so the boys could see it one more time before it came down. Once we pulled into the parking garage, we wouldn't see the building again until we were up on the 13th floor. But they didn't know how to pick it out among the other skyscrapers. Just then, as we crept down the rain-soaked street, I was watching the building when Darren heard the blast and looked over, too - just in time to see it come down.
"OH MY GOSH!" I exclaimed. "That was it! It just came down!"
"What in the WORLD???" Darren said, almost yelling. "It's not supposed to happen until after 8:00!"
According to all the local news stations and the newspaper, it had been scheduled for "sometime after 8 a.m.". WHY had they pushed the button 20 minutes early? We were furious.
"Boys," we said. "We're so sorry. But the building already imploded. We missed it."
Aidan immediately began crying. "But I wanna SEE the CRASH!" he wailed.
He was absolutely heartbroken. Ian, on the other hand, whimpered once and then, sunshine-boy that he is, said, "At least we can watch it on TV."
Pedestrians on the street were all as shocked as we were. There was a lot of frustration in the faces of the people heading towards the demo site. WHY advertise something and then do it early? There had to be a good reason. Unfortunately, NO reason was good enough for a 5-year old who'd been waiting for this moment for so long.
By the time we got to the end of the block, it had started raining. We watched the giant plumes of smoke and debris, and my mind immediately jumped to images from 9-11. The sky was already overcast, and the rain was keeping most of the dust and smoke down, and yet the sky was STILL filled with amazing amounts of brown cloud. I can't imagine what it must've been like on that clear, calm day in 2001. I snapped this picture as we turned the corner to head back home:
Back at home, I was determined not to miss the scrapbook opportunity. I got my pictures. :)
It's a strange thing to see such a major landmark come crashing down in your city. The building itself was ugly and useless, but it makes me sorta sad to hear that the landowner has no further plans beyond making it a parking lot.
You can watch video of the Landmark Tower implosion on the local NBC website.
Turns out, the demolition company DID have a good reason for moving the implosion up 20 minutes. There was a fast-moving storm approaching downtown, and it contained possible hail and lightning. I had to admit that when something like this is planned, the entertainment value is huge to US, but it matters not at all to the people in charge. They were there to bring a building down safely. And that's what they did.
Someday, my boys will understand that. But today, they were heartbroken.