Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Later

(Originally posted 9/12/09, revised and edited on 9/11/10)

On September 01, 2001 my marriage came to an end. I packed up my belongings and moved into a small studio apartment downtown. At the time I thought that it was not just a life changing moment but the worst day of my life. Ten days later the world as we knew it changed forever and life would never be the same for our country.

For some years now I have purposely avoided watching the TV on the anniversary of 911. Even now all these years later it is still very hard to watch. Last year on this anniversary MSNBC replayed the Today Show Broadcast from that day. It was hard to watch again because it brought back so many memories for me. It was about more than just 911 for me because it brought back so many memories.

On the morning of 911 I got up early because I had a meeting in the field to look at a project. Just as our meeting was coming to a close the field superintendent came over to my SUV and he asked me if I had heard that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. I immediately turned on the radio and headed towards my new apartment. My memories of the first Trade Center bombing in 1993 came flooding back to me.

I was in the WTC just two days before it was bombed the first time. I had been in NYC visiting Michael, my first love and my on again off again boyfriend at the time. I took the subway from the Village to the WTC and thought on a lark that I would get off the subway located in the basement of the WTC and walk from there to Battery Park to take the ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty. As I got off the subway, surrounded by morning commuters, I made my way to the lobby of the massive building and went up the escalator to take it all in. I found an ATM, got some cash and hastily made my way to Battery Park. I never took a single photo of the WTC on that visit and to this day I am still glad of that.

Two days later I awoke to the news that the WTC had been bombed. My first phone call was to Michael. From his apartment in the village you could walk out the front door and turn to your left and there they were, the twin towers. The WTC was more than just a landmark, it was a guidepost for the entire city. If you could locate the WTC on the skyline you were able to automatically figure out where you were in the city. When I finally reached Michael we both were choked up but I was relieved to hear that he was okay.

Fast forward to 911 and Michael had since graduated from NYU with an MBA and he was living in San Francisco. We saw each other in San Francisco just a couple weeks before that fateful day of 911 and he told me he was going to NYC and would be having a meeting at the WTC. We both laughed about how successful he was becoming and I didn't give it another thought until 911. My first thought after I heard about the plane was, please god...don't let him be in NYC but safe in San Francisco.

I finally arrived back at my apartment and I turned on the television just as the second plane hit, I started crying immediately because I knew that this was in no way a commuter plane accident but this was a coordinated terrorist event. I pulled Micheal's number up on my cell phone and I began dialing. Even if he was safe in San Francisco I did not care if I was waking him up I had to know if he was okay. I left at least three messages...

My phone rang multiple times...my mother,then a coworker, and I kept hitting ignore to send the calls to voice mail, I had to know if he was okay. Finally my phone rang and it was Michael. He was safe in San Francisco, he got home one week to the day before. He was fine. It was a brief conversation, we both were watching the story unfold and quietly we agreed to talk again soon but we both needed to call our mothers and our families.

I hung up the phone and I called my ex, the man that just a mere ten days before was my husband. To my surprise he answered. I asked him if he had the TV on and when he replied no, I said to him you need to turn the TV on immediately. I told him that something dreadful was happening and he needed to know.

Then after reassuring my mother by phone, I watched the first tower fall, all alone, with no one on the phone. I remember the sounds that came out of my mouth, how hollow it sounded in my sparsely furnished apartment. There are just no words to describe that feeling, the helplessness that you felt. My concern grew greater as they started evacuating all of the tall buildings nationwide. Living in the second largest banking city it made me pause. Were there more planes coming?

The Pentagon was hit. We all saw it coming, we were all ready for it at that point. I remember calling my friend Linda, is this real? Are we in a dream? What the hell is happening? The video is just frightening. My phone rang, it was Michael. Flight 93 just crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. It was the same flight that Michael had taken one week to the day before 911. The flight from Newark to San Francisco. There were just no words, the same flight separated but by seven days. It is not a spectacular story, nor a harrowing story about how we escaped death. It was the reality of 911 and there were thousands of stories just like mine and Michael's.

In 2009 I was in Paris visiting my good friend from Amsterdam and I made an off hand remark about "when the damn war is over" and he looked at me like i had three heads. What war, he asked me...I said, the war in Iraq. Oh, "that war" and we lapsed into a conversation about the impact of "that war". Other nations don't get that war, the one that we were led into by bravado and lies. Their nations have not sacrificed as ours has. "The War" that has nearly bankrupted our country and further divided our nation along party lines.

The very ones who were screaming about the the need to invade Iraq are now the very ones calling for us to exit Afghanistan. Civility in our country has ceased to exist. We are either a birther or a commie, socialist. Is it any wonder that we all start to tune out after a while? We got him elected, isn't it his job to fight this fight? We all gave our time, talent, money and sweat during the election and now that it is over we are all rolling over belly up and saying I give. I say grow a pair, our president included.

Will it take another 911 before we stop rolling over like dogs and letting fascists run this country before we have some balls to stand up to our elected officials and force them to do the job we elected them to do? We have an obligation to do something, before we allow the right to take over our country again.

1 comment:

Saintly Ramblings said...

Thank you for that post - I also watched the events by myself, in my UK home. A friend had moved to Long Island the week before. It was a couple of hours before I got an e-mail saying he was not in the city but safe at home.
I also found it very difficult to watch the anniversary programmes, but one comment that came through - "When will we get get back to normal? Ah. This is the new normal."