I seem to be jumping the bandwagon of bloggers who are posting about the fifth anniversary of 9/11, but I figured it would be nice to write down my thoughts if only for myself. The remembrance of that day is slowly going fuzzier with age and I pray I won't forget the feeling that the events brought me.
I was in my normal before work routine of eating breakfast. I flipped on the news and I saw the billowing smoke coming from the World Trade Center. My then girlfriend came out of the room and I looked at her.
"They did it," I proclaimed. "They finally did it."
"Did what?" she asked.
"Terrorists struck two planes into the World Trade Center. We're under attack."
She didn't say anything. She looked at the television and watched with confusion.
It took me forever to realize why my first words were 'they did it, they finally did it.' I then recalled a conversation back in the late 90s with my friends Corey and Joe. We discussed one of our most loved political subjects and that is Israel. The conversation then went into terrorism and unto Osama Bin Laden. We were unsure at the time if Osama was a real threat, but all of us agreed that soon terrorism would be at our front door steps and it would be larger than the embassy and USS Cole combined.
We had no idea just how massive it would become.
The phone range. It was Corey.
"Hey are you watching the news?" he said.
"Yeah," I replied.
"The shit is going down," he observed.
"It sure is," I said. "I'm going to call the folks. They don't have television."
"Tell em I said hi."
"Will do. I'll be online soon. If I hear any more news I'll send it to you."
I called the folks and updated them on what I knew at the time. Mom tried to make some reasonable explanation about why our country was under attack, inciting what she believes is our country's lack of godliness.
I was annoyed. Here I was calling her about a terrible situation and she had to go Pat Robertson on me. I could've have asked why Amsterdam gets a free pass, but really I didn't want to argue and just let it go. People all have their way of coping with tragedy and I just as well let her have her's.
I left for work shortly thereafter. I was tuned into the radio when the news announced the first tower collapsed. After I got to work the second tower then plunged to the earth taking numerous lives with them.
I got inside the building and people were talking over each other about what just happened. I sat at my cube and was being bombarded by IMs with news about the Pentagon and Flight 93. My inbox was flooded from friends I haven't heard from in years wondering what my thoughts were on the whole mess.
As one could imagine the phone volume was really dead that day. Then after being at my cube for hours without a call the phone rang. It was a customer who was having trouble with her word processing software. She was angry about her support options and hung up on me. I wasn't all that polite given what was going on and she took the time to call in and bitch about typing a letter.
Since it was so slow my boss let a few of us go home early. I came home and sat on the couch, eyes being glued to the tv. My then girlfriend came home, said nothing, sat on the couch beside me, and rested her head on my shoulder. I threw my arms around her and we sat in silence for what felt like forever watching the terrible tragedy unfold before us.
Five years later I think about this eternal conflict of a fearful empire clashing with civilizations that can't seem to bring themselves out of the 7th century. I could go on about the politics and war that has been brought and my analysis on it, but this day I choose to remember one thing about 9/11 and that being my first words when I comprehended what was going on.
"They did it. They finally did it."
"After 9-11 there was a body of literature from people like Baudrillard and Chomksy who wrote very eloquently about what the hell was going on, but they didn't pitch a solution." - Ben Nicholson