Monday, September 08, 2008

Seven Years Later

Now that it's 7 years after, and Bush is out of office in January, I feel like it's safe to blog about 9/11. Safe as in not trying to be manipulative, single-mindedly patriotic, or political.

I was still on partial disability from my stroke back in 2001. So, I worked half a day Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (usually 8:30 to 12:30pm) and normal hours Tues/Thurs. I remember how crisp, clear and cool the day was. Basically, I was on auto-pilot just going to work, trying to make it through the day to go home to practice physical therapy. I was doing my normal morning web-surfing when something odd happened. CNN refused to load and almost every single news website was unloadable. Unperturbed, I started reading through my regular message boards. A known asshole and troll baiter had posted the topic "Plane Crashes into WTC". Again, I didn't think anything of it. He was probably trying to be inflammatory or some sesna knicked the building.

Then a professor came into the office and asked me if I had heard about the plane going into the WTC. I shrugged and said no. Within minutes another professor popped out of his office and said there were more planes taken hostage. This is when I started getting really concerned and confused. None of the news sites were loading still and my cell phone wasn't working either. So, it slowly dawned on me that shit was up.

Since there wasn't a tv in the office, I scrounged up a radio so at least I could hear what was going on. And that message board topic started by the asshole troll baiter was an online international news repository for the day. Members posted their international news feeds so those of us stuck at work, could watch some coverage. Also US members would post their outrage and confusion while International members would post support and love. In the early hours, we kept hearing different reports on how many planes were hijacked. Another professor came out and announced that they hit the Pentagon. This is when I started feeling nauseating panic and called my mom. The thought of going home never entered my mind. I needed the normalcy of work.

I'll never forget the sound of Peter Jenning's voice as he confirmed that the first tower had collapsed. "Gone" didn't really make sense that day. Coming back to my office after doing a Xerox job, I saw a cluster of people around the radio and the bottom fell out of my stomach. Oh God, what else had happened? Finally someone found a dinky 15 inch tv downstairs and a bunch of us crowded into an office to see footage. The same damn footage that was repeated ad nauseum for a week. One of my co-worker's husbands was almost on one of the flights that morning.

Driving home was eerily quiet. In fact, the next couple days were oppressively quiet. You have no idea you live along a flightpath until every single flight is grounded. When flights did resume, the sound made me jump out of my skin. 9/11 was the only day in my life that I have defended President Bush, as the President started his speech that evening some schmuck started up a political diatribe and I told him to shut up. There's a time and place.

The first time I really laughed after 9/11 was watching the Saturday Night Live premiere with Reese Witherspoon. I do remember how incredibly emotional that time was. It was kinda amazing for me since I has been working on my emotional lability for months and all of a sudden it was okay to burst into tears in the middle of the day. I also felt a burgeoning uneasiness with the reactions to 9/11. Someone sent out to the entire work list-serv and email detailing how Nostradamus predicted 9/11. I also read online the 9/11 Jewish conspiracy theory.

Since 9/11, I compulsively check CNN whenever I first go online in the morning. So, don't think I'm crazy if I IM you asking if we're under attack again if CNN doesn't load. Also a lot of workplaces have now installed televisions and travel insurance is mandatory for business trips. Of all the movied that have come out about 9/11, I found Reign Over Me and United 93 to be the most affecting. But watching these movies is like scratching open a wound and I don't know how long it will take to completely heal over the memory of that day. I sometimes think that just as I used to ask my parents about the Kennedy assassination or Watergate, this will be an event my children will ask me about.

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