I seem to be in the minority when it comes to 9/11. All I've heard or read is people that say they can't believe it's been that long already. While I remember feeling that way during the first few anniversaries, it feels like a lifetime ago now. I suspect since I've graduated, gotten married, bought a house, and moved out since then that could explain it. In many ways it WAS a lifetime ago.
Anyway, they say at moments like that you'll always remember where you were.
I was at home in bed just waking up for what must have been a 9 am class. My mom told me to turn on the news and that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers, and while filming the wreckage another flew in to the other one. I jumped in the shower, got dressed and ready, and sat down to watch the news with my mom in the kitchen. At one point they broke in to say something had hit the Pentagon. Just before the point where I absolutely had to leave for class the first building collapsed. I'd like to say we were flabbergasted, but if I remember correctly no one really knew what happened. I think you saw the top start to lean and then nothing but dust. I remember shouting at the TV "What happened!?" because the news people were so caught up in wild speculation that they didn't even notice something happened. Finally they noticed that the scene looked different and started trying to find out what happened. I can't remember how it came about, if the dust cleared enough, or if they just finally found a better camera angle but it was soon clear that the building was just gone. My mom asked me if I though the other one would collapse too and I told her I didn't think it would. The buildings are built for things like this to happen and even if the top was too heavy because the plane took out some supports the top should, at some point, take the path of least resistance and fall off to the side, leaving most of the building. I remember saying it was a "million to one" shot that the first one would collapse in a neat little pile like it did.
I had to leave and went to class. To my surprise very few people had even heard about it. I was the one to inform at least 4 of the very few there. In fact I don't even think Bret and Alex had heard. Professor Wick walked in, informed the class of what was going on, and told us he didn't think it was appropriate to talk shop on a day like this. It must have been my only class, but I waited for Sarah to get done with class.
In Davies there were TV's set up and groups crowded around all of them. I watched with a group and noticed that there was a local camera crew there filming us watching. I didn't know what to make of that, but it soon didn't matter, my 'million to one' event unfolded. It may have been the same kind of 'you can't see anything' footage, but this time we all knew what was happening anyway.
After that I met Sarah. Since her professors decided to act like nothing happened she had no idea what had transpired. She knew the attack happened and but didn't know the towers had fallen.
The next few days and weeks were really hard on the mind to take. There was so much tragedy happening, yet so many wonderful things happening at the same time. For the briefest of moments in my life everyone was of one mind. The world stopped on a dime. A nation that prints tragedies in other countries on page 10 after the newest Britney/Paris Hilton scandals had the whole world crying with them. Black/white, Gay/Straight, Democrat/Republican, none of it mattered. Everyone had their priorities straight. Everyone poured their hearts and minds into New York. One minute I was taking pot shots at an illegitimate President, the next I was getting choked up as he stood on the rubble with his arm around a firefighter telling them, 'I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you...and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.'
The conflict of emotion between the utter tragedy that unfolded and the unprecedented support that followed was nearly overwhelming. I can't really put it into words, but I'm sure you all felt somewhat the same.
To this day I'm still the most upset that the buildings fell. I know that sounds obvious and stupid. Of course no one, save for one small group, was glad they fell. It just makes me mad because I don't think it was part of their plan. I think they meant to make a statement, steal a bunch of planes and crash them into important things. I think they were surprised by our sudden lack of arrogance when we grounded every plane. I think there were probably more attacks scheduled to happen. I think their plan was to spread out a lot more minimal damage. I don't think the buildings collapsing was part of the plan. After all, by all accounts they shouldn't have collapsed. Jet fuel doesn't burn hot enough and the support system was made to to support such an impact. The building was thought to be so stout that people were being told to continue working. It seems so obvious now but the thought of even a giant airliner taking the building down was so laughable that it didn't even occur to everyone to leave. A fire drill probably got more of a response. (It's these things that fuel the conspiracy theories, by the way.) It infuriates me to picture the terrorists who did the attacks in surprised jubilation as the buildings fell. I mean lets face it, if those buildings don't fall we wouldn't be talking about this right now. Much like the Pentagon on 9/11 and the 1994 attack on the WTC we would all but forget about it. Except for the poor families of the unlucky souls who happened to be on the wrong couple of floors it would have been a footnote in history. It makes me mad that it was anything but.
So what about you? Where were you standing when the world stood still?
9/11 - Where were you?
|Jeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?|
|If you guys find the video of Regis on Letterman after the above speech post it here.|
|Jeremy messed with this at 09/12/2006 12:19:30 pm|
|Alex - I was too weak to give in Too strong to lose|
|I had an apartment by myself and didn't usually turn on the TV or anything before class. So I went to my 9:15 class without a clue. Then Jeremy told me what happened and Wick canceled class. I don't think I had class again till like 2 or something (Calculus II, which was not canceled) so I went back to my apartment and just watched TV if I remember correctly until I had to go to that class.|
|Carlos44ec - 2079 Posts|
I had all of my classes cancelled, but couldn't get out of work. I worked at a gas station back then- I saw the worst in a lot of decent people that night, while they waited for what they thought was the last "cheap gas."
In some ways they were right, hmm?
|Jeremy - 9299 Posts|
That was a freaky night. In any disaster movie the part that scares me the most isn't the disaster happening. It's the selfish panicky people ensuring they all die because people can't think normally in a crisis that freaks me out.
That's what happened that night. One sure fire way to make sure there's no gas left and that prices shoot up is to exaust the supply by selfishly hoarding gas you don't need.
People idled in lines for hours. People lined up for blocks at gas stations that weren't even open.
I remember Sarah being particularly upset about it. I think when she saw the hundreds of people trying to get gas at gas stations all across the city the events had literally and figuratively "hit home."
|Carlos44ec - Knuckle Sammich|
|We shut down the whole store because we needed to ensure we would have some gas for the morning commuters. That, and if you bleed the pumps dry you get the silt at the bottom.|