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Remembering 9/11

Some people would rather just forget the tragedy of 9/11 ever happened seven years ago. But I don't think we should. After it first happened, I was not sure I would ever be the same, even though I did not know anyone who had perished or had been injured. I did know several people who lived or worked in NYC as well as near the Pentagon, and Flight 93 crashed about a mile from a house on Indian Lake my family had back when I was in high school and college. In fact, I might have actually walked near or by the crash site (before it became the crash site). So in that respect, I felt connected.

When I heard about the first plane crash, I was listening to B94 and getting ready for work, and I did not think much of it. But when I got in my car probably 10 or 15 minutes later and heard about the second crash, and then I heard Howard Stern talk about a terrorist attack, I was dumbfounded. At work, Luke, our IT kid, was holding a TV antenna so we could watch the events on TV in the admin conference room. I could not stop watching the rest of the day (save for bathroom and food breaks). I had a great view of parts of downtown and some roads, and I watched the mass exodus from Pittsburgh late that morning. And I watched the towers fall on live TV.

For the next few days, I watched hours of Fox News and CNN, which resulted in my staying up late as well as going into work late so I could watch more. I recall checking those websites constantly at work. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can remember that weekend doing sit-ups at the gym and looking up through the glass windows and seeing a plane fly by, the first plane I had seen in about four or five days. I am pretty sure I stopped breathing for a few seconds.

Soon after, I decided to book a flight to see my friends in Philly the next month. The thought of getting on a plane terrified me (I never liked to fly before that), but I feared if I did not fly soon, I might never get on a plane again. I was hoping that the $75 would be enough for me not to chicken out, but if I did, it would not be huge deal.

And life went on. Eventually, I stopped charging my cell phone every single night. I made it on the plane (though I did pray for about an hour at the chapel beforehand, literally nauseous with fear). I stopped looking up at tall buildings waiting for planes to crash into them. Yes, I really did that for awhile. I stopped checking Fox and CNN every 10 minutes.

I won't forget what happened, and I still find myself watching programs about 9/11 whenever there is something on Discovery or the History Channel. But the one thing lacking from 9/11 is the togetherness so many of us felt as a nation. People were friendlier, nicer to each other. I am fairly certain crime went down. People realized there was more to life than the every day material things. People waved flags more, were less embarrassed to sing the national anthem at a football game.

I wish we could get that back, just without a tragedy like this.

Comments

Facie :-) said…
I am disappointed to say that no one I talked to knew that yesterday, 9.11, was Patriot Day. I showed up to work wearing an America (the country, not the band) t-shirt, and several people questioned my extra casual choice. When I explained why, people thought I was making it up.

I did get to see an interesting documentary on the History Channel. About 10 people in NYC filmed events of that day. There was some new footage, from a different perspective, and the program was shown, more or less, in real-time. My heart pounded as I watched certain scenes, and I cried several times. Watching people grapple with the horror and watching the towers fall from an apartment about a block away were very compelling.
cc said…
We watched the same program---very powerful. We couldn't stop watching it even though we had to get up and work the next day. Everyone I talked to did know the signicance of the day, thankfully. It hasn't completely been erased from memories yet.
Mel said…
we hung out flag up on 9/11. most people did not. our old neighbor a couple years back asked us why we hung it, and when I told her, she kind of shrugged (she was a bit of a doofus). I was sad then, and I am more sad now. at least the news acknowledged it, and I really was impressed by the new monument at the Pentagon. all we can do is remember, try to re-ignite memories, and teach our kids/encourage patriotism.

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