The Downtown METRO Transit Center buzzes with kinetic energy at night. The faces of folks spanning the entire spectrums of race and sobriety crowd inside the small building. These faces suggest many stories: stories of adolescent mischief, hard work, and bleak realities — it’s the kind of place an artist could go to have a field day.
Standing in the middle of the transit center, having his photo taken for this article, Akron rapper/producer J.E.T Swade, 22, is taking it all in.
“This is where the people are. Real people. This is kind of like school for me. I was homeschooled most of my life so the transit is kind of like the school of the streets for me.”
Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001 when tragedy struck the nation?
METRO buses were on the road, feeling the impact of the day in a different way. Passengers were flooding METRO’s phone lines, calling from the Akron-Canton Airport, downtown Cleveland, federal buildings and beyond, seeking travel assistance as airports and large cities were being evacuated. We drove miles to help transport our customers and others, and reunite them with their families.
There was a level of anxiety and a level of stress, but an amazing amount of teamwork taking place, despite the feeling of our world crumbling beneath us.
In the days following, American flags were displayed on all METRO buses to symbolize unity. We paused on the side of the road to participate in a nationwide moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. And we felt the office walls shake from the sound of jets as they made their way to protect our country.