READER COMMENTS ON
"Five Years Ago Tomorrow..."
(20 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 11:57 am PT...
I was in my little cabin in the redwoods, with the pond in the front yard, and the black bears and mountain lions and wood ducks and herons and kingfishers and ravens and FROGS (!!!!). I was sound asleep. My nextdoor neighbor called me from work, and said, "Get over to my house and turn on the tv right now!" My very first thought was, "Oh, fuck, look who's president." Before I even knew why I was going. I was in my blue flannel negligee, slammed on my hightop sneakers, jumped in my car and drove a mile down our dirt driveway... just in time to see the second plane hit.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 12:10 pm PT...
I remember the peaceful, quiet blue of the skies, mother nature on a very good day. She hung in there steadily despite what man was doing within her arms.
I remember watching on a TV in the office of a co-worker. Everyone was talking pilot error. Except me. "Our guys wouldn't do that--if something was wrong--hitting a building is the first thing they would avoid soing." My boss comes along and says, "OK, move along, everyone back to work." We didn't move. We couldn't.
At around noon I went to pick up my son from his 3rd grade class. It was all I could do not to break down on the trip inside school and the trip back to the car--I didn't want to speak the words of what had happened to my young son.
My visions always begin with the people hanging on the outside of the North Tower so many stories high and then I have to stop thinking about that day, those killed, the buildings falling, the searching. I cried so many nights in those days. It's just still very painful.
Five years is a long time, perhaps by now I should have been able to move along emotionally. Maybe it's time I did talk about it. Maybe it's time to cry in earnest again. Starting now...
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 12:12 pm PT...
I was cleaning up breakfast dishes and telling my son to go brush his teeth and get ready for school when the phone rang. It was my husband, and he asked, "Do you have the tv on?" I said, "No, we're about to start classes" He said, "You might want to turn it on."
Still holding the phone, I turned on the tv in the kitchen. The picture came on but the sound was turned down, and there on the screen was the Pentagon, with smoke coming from a large hole in the side. I said, "Oh my God what just happened?" He said, "A plane just hit the towers in New York". I said, "But that's the PENTAGON" - he couldn't see the tv from his office, so he didn't know yet that the Pentagon had been hit too.
It's a little blurry after that, I stood there shaking and crying, and tried to calmly explain to my son, who was 9 years old, what had just happened, without frightening him. He started asking questions -
"Mom, is there anything close to here the terrorists would want to bomb?"
"No hon, we're pretty much insignificant, nothing in this county but cattle and horses and deer and they don't care about that stuff"
I knew I'd be unable to focus on the lesson plans I'd drawn up for the day, so I said, "Tell ya what, why don't we just make this an art day? You can write in your journal, just whatever is on your mind, or you can draw, for the rest of the day. And maybe I'll draw something too"
One of the best ways to detect what a child is really thinking, and especially how a trauma is affecting them, is to give them a creative outlet. I knew we'd need to sit down as a family and talk about this, and I wanted a starting point. And to tell you the truth, I was just too stunned to focus on anything else.
And for the rest of the day...
"But Mom, what about the Arsenal? That's not too far from here. Isn't that a military base?"
"What about NASA? Are the astronauts training right now? Would they want to kill the astronauts?"
"What about the Air Force base?"
"What about the nuclear plant? That's pretty close to Papa's house isn't it?"
(Sometimes I wish he wasn't so observant, and that I hadn't spent so much time teaching him about the area just outside our quiet little county)
We were supposed to go to county fair that night. I had entered something in the photo contest and didn't know yet if I'd won any ribbons or not, but at that point I didn't care, I just couldn't bring myself to face a crowd - not yet.
The next day was another art and literature day - I just couldn't focus enough to teach. We listened to music and read, and again in he wrote in his journal. I didn't want to chance traumatizing my son by keeping the news on all day, so I kept the tv in my bedroom on with the sound turned off, and I kept going back there to check and make sure nothing else had happened. Just like the day before, that day was a bombardment of images interspersed with first-hand stories of the death and destruction. Finally I plugged a tape in the VCR and just let it record.
That night we decided to go ahead and go to the fair. Although I still didn't really feel like being in a crowd or celebrating, it was almost an act of defiance - we would NOT change our lives, we would NOT live in fear!
In my little town, prayer is still said before every major public event. That night was no different. We were in the stands waiting for the Demolition Derby to start, and everyone bowed their head as the announcer prayed over the loud speakers. Then, as was tradition, we said the pledge of allegiance, with the flag held high on the grandstand, followed by the Star Spangled Banner. I stood there with tears in my eyes, and looking around, I could see I wasn't the only one. I had never before felt so connected to the people of my town, my state, my country.
My husband came home that night and said he was taking two days of vacation, to give us a four day weekend. He knew we needed time away from the news, time together as a family. So the three of us made our way to my parents' lake house, a little family vacation place situated at the end of a one lane dirt road at the edge of a national forest. For three days we swam and fished, cleaning our catch on the dock and grilling it up for supper at night. We didn't use the phone, we didn't turn on the tv or radio - and we didn't talk about what had happened. The entire time we were there, we only saw one other person - a lone fisherman going by on his way upriver.
It was hard to imagine, sitting there with the sun rising through the mists, a fishing pole in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, that everything had changed. It was easy to pretend this was like any other fishing trip. I didn't want to go home.
But, even on the long drive home, I knew that no matter what happened, we were going to be alright. We knew that all our tomorrows were still uncertain, but it was time to start healing.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
JUDGE OF JUDGES
said on 9/10/2006 @ 2:24 pm PT...
Agent99 - Sound like a Limousine Liberal ? ? ?
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 2:29 pm PT...
I was traveling to Southern California from Portland, Oregon. My thoughts were as far away from national and world concerns as they could be, my father had been diagnosed with melanoma and I was on my way for several weeks of emotional handholding with him and my family.
I stopped for the night in Weed, and starting out the next morning, I realized that I had been out of touch for several days and so turned on the local radio station to see what was new in the world. Here in this beautiful town in the Shasta mountain area, snow on the ground, bright blue sky above, I heard the broadcast of the events in New York. "WHAT A SICK JOKE!" were my first thoughts. I waited for the punch line, the disclaimer revealing the sick individual that would think of such a disgusting joke. Of course it didn't come.
As I drove south along Highway 5, I felt a bit detatched traveling alone in my car with only the words from the radio. Though I could have stopped to find a TV, I just couldn't. I wasn't ready for that reality. It was hard enough to hear it. Stopping for gas, a look into the eyes of fellow travelers said it all. We were united in our national grief, a family united in pain. We all wanted to get home as soon as possible, to hug our wives, husbands, children, fathers and mothers.
Once in the home I grew up in, surrounded by family, I saw for the first time the planes hitting the buildings, the fear in the streets of New York, the buildings collapsing. No words throughout the day, none of the descriptions of the event came close to the actual reality.
9/11 is intimately woven into my life. My father has survived his battle with melanoma. Though there is the chance of a recurrence, of new lesions, with his knowledge of the disease and how to watch for the early signs his fears have faded. As I look back, I realized that most of our fears came mostly from our ignorance of the disease. My father, as well as my family have healed. We know the nature of this quiet enemy, we know what to look for, and we know how to react. Knowledge has defeated our fears.
When will we as a nation learn? when will our fears fade? When will our healing come?
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 2:30 pm PT...
Heh, yeah, my driver was so pissed off about having to wash it ten times a day that he made me move to "town"... where our streets are sorta paved. ... Well... and... he got tired of averting his eyes when I had a bath in the old clawfoot on my porch. Never would stop griping about the big poodie-tats in the yard either. Servants! They are SUCH a hassle.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 2:45 pm PT...
I was alone, having my coffee, and trying to take comfort from an old mantra the poor have, that I have been told all my life, "no matter how bad it gets, someone always has it worse than us." I was missing my dream house that my husband and sons had built from the ground up, out in the country. And wondering why property tax and insurance premiums rose so fast and so high, that we had to sell it. And I was feeling guilty, about being too sick to work, I was afraid. I did have good insurance , before I got sick,through a company I worked at for 27 or 28 years. It was expensive, but I wanted the best, as my mother would say, "for a rainy day". A supplemental policy, and I couldn't understand why this insurance co. was being so dense, asking me the same questions over and over, harassing my doctors. At one point I was told, "well, I have to find some way to deny you this claim". And they did, leaving me in poverty.
So, on that morning, my husband called me from work to say "quick, turn on the TV!" I don't remember much of the fear and confusion that followed, just the one question repeated over and over by my family, "WHY?"
Shortly after,my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and became one of the un-insured.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 3:13 pm PT...
It was a lazy morning and I was relishing the warmth of my husband sleeping next to me. He had just come home from a 2 month Army training exercise. I was tossing around the idea of calling in sick to work. The tv alarm had just come on. I heard the news anchor say something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I turned up the television and starting watching. When the second plane hit, I cried out and woke my husband. We watched in horror as the mornings events occured. I brought my teenage sons into our room and we all watched together. I called my boss and told him to turn on the television. As soon as the Pentagon was hit my husband was called into work.
My boss brought a television into work that day and instead of celebrating my co-workers 21st birthday, we watched the horrible events unfold, dreading what would come the next minute.
I must say that on 9/11/2001 every customer who walked through our doors was my brother or sister. I felt a connection, I never knew I had, with every person I came into contact with that day.
At the end of that tragic day my thoughts were; that the peaceful, safe country that I had the honnor of living in would now be changed forever. I was sad for my children. I wondered what have we done that would make them hate us so much. I cried, for all of my countrymen who were lost and for all of their loved ones. I cried for my family and all of our fellow military families, because I knew our lives were certianly going to change. I knew that our challanges were just begining.
In the days following, I was touched and inspired by the outpouring of genuine caring, expressed by the whole world. They grieved with us as if they were our countrymen. I felt hopeful that we could learn from this horrible tragedy and take the right steps to make sure it would never happen again.
It is now 5 years later, and I hear and read that "People have forgotten 9/11". That statement is so wrong! WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN! Most of us live with daily thoughts of 9/11. I did not loose anyone that day, but I have lost many friends since, in the name of that day. I go to bed alone everynight in the name of that day. If my doorbell rings on Sun morning, I get that horrible adreneline rush in my stomach, and I cringe at that thought of answering the door, in the name of that day. When a helicopter crashes in Iraq, I wait in dread until the names of the victims are released and then I feel guilty because I am relieved, in the name of that day.
As for the world that grieved with us, the countries that were on our side. Our government discounted and disrespected them. Our United States representatives treated them as if they were not part of our great and terrible world. They treated the esteemed and knowledgable leaders of the other countries in our world as if they were uneducated and ignorant to "our" plight. If they were not for us they were against us. We started boycotting their products and calling french fries, freedom fries. Their people stood in the streets in the thousands holding candlelight vigils for us! for us! THEY WERE NOT AGAINST US! They just wanted more time to make sure they and we were justified in our decision to attack Iraq.
Why after five years do we have to see and hear the man who planned and trained men to attack and kill innocent Americans, a man who has stated that he is planning another day for us, worse than 9/11.
Our leaders know we have not forgotten, because they now use September 11th, 2001, to scare us. Those of us who refuse to live in fear anymore, are compared to Nazi appeasers. That is such a cruel thing to say about your countrymen.
To me September 11th, should be a day to remember the victims and honor the heroes from that day. A day to reflect on what I have learned and consider what I can do to make the world a safer, better place.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 3:14 pm PT...
Like everyone else I was transfixed, watching in horror as people jumped from the upper stories, watching in disbelief as first one, then the other of the two towers imploded. Registering the fact that firefighters, emts, and police officers had gone into the towers shortly before they collapsed.....and hadn't come out.
My husband worked at Bolling AFB in Washington DC but frequently had meetings at the Pentagon, so when news of the Pentagon attack broke, first I called him (he was watching the smoke from his office window), and then called one of my best friends. She's an AF bio-hazard defense expert, who spent 2 days a week at the Pentagon, when she wasn't traveling around the world coordinating response plans with military and civilian officials. I didn't reach her, but was relieved when she called me later to check on Dave's wellbeing. I was glued to the TV for hours, mourning the loss of life, but I remember wondering why everyone seemed so surprised. Horrified, certainly, but surprised? There had already been a bombing in the WTC, and terrorist attacks around the world were a given. We were in Germany, just a few kilometers away when the headquarters bldg. at Ramstein AFB was bombed, and we were used to the idea of checking under our cars for bombs before we got in them. Was everyone so naive as to believe that it couldn't happen here(again)? I remember watching as the TV showed maps of where various planes were, and gradually seeing fewer and fewer until the skies were clear....and wondering whether we were going to be able to fly to our son's wedding in California on the 18th. (Yes, even with all the horror I was worrying about that.)
Life goes on, and here we are 5 years later, knowing that our adminstration wasted the opportunity to catch Bin Laden, seeing them cost the US all the goodwill of the world on the non-war on terror in Iraq, witness the levels of hatred for the US reach an all time high as we create thousands of new terrorists while we devastate cities, small towns and farms, destroying the infrastructure of Iraq, encouraging Israel to do the same thing in Lebanon so they can test their strategy for the planned attack on Iran, killing and mutilating thousands of men, women, and children, all to satisfy the egos of the power mad, imperialist neocons! We must not forget that although it is terrible that we lost so many people on 9-11, the war criminals in the administration have killed as many Americans in Iraq, and have maimed many thousands more, while cutting benefits for veterans and their families here at home. As we remember and mourn those who died on 9-11, we should also remember and mourn all those who have died or suffered grievous injuries since; Americans, members of the coalition forces, Iraqis, Afghanis, and Lebanese.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
JUDGE OF JUDGES
said on 9/10/2006 @ 3:46 pm PT...
5 years ago Monday,
I was listening to Howard Stern.
This was before the FUCK'iN christo - fascists suceeded
in persecuteing him off the air, after many years of triing!
(The time was right .. .. ..)
Now that admin in place was right to get that done. . .
Howard gave a most unwavering, informative, stern, serious,
optimistic and brave broadcast's on the Radio for days ! ! !
It was not for the money . . . . . it was the Man.
At the time Howard leaned conservative.
The Shit hit the fan when he started questioning the
policies and decisions Coward / Bully / Liar in cheif.
He supported kerry with no . . . . . recognition from the
dems . . . . . With as many as 20,000,000 listeners . . . What Fooooooools !
I sent $ through Howard's links to kerry . . .
Now I will NOT even pull the lever for jfk for sen.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 7:35 pm PT...
Most days, I sleep until about noon. My neighbor Glen pounded on my door and I went over to his apartment and watched the TV. I was scheduled to do some editing work for a friend that day, and showed up as scheduled, but we just spent all day watching the TV. I wasn't all shocked and grieved. I knew this was BAD. Reich-stag fire bad. Mindless jingoism bad. I resented the media telling me I was suddenly supposed to be haunted by non-specific anxiety. I was anxious: about losing our Constitution; I was alienated: by the people around me being simple-minded; I was disgusted: about the entitlement Americans have that nothing bad is ever supposed to happen to them.
It took me a couple of years to realize that it had been an inside job, that the reason the TV looked like an action movie is that it had all been deliberately orchestrated.
The bar on the corner put up a flag on a pole suspended over the street. For three years that flag rotted and tore until it was just a tangled mass of shredded fabric. (They finally took it down when they saw me taking pictures of it.) That's pretty much how I remember 9/11.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 10:37 pm PT...
I was getting ready for work that morning. Had a very important meeting to propose an energy saving cooling system for Mondavi Wines new 540,000 square foot wine transportation warehouse.
The morning news was on the TV and they broke to a national feed about the first tower having been hit. The reporters were making many stupid comments about how the Air Traffic Controllers must be having a problem etc., speculating what kind of plane it was.
Then the second plane hit. I knew then that it was not some accident.
I stayed as long as I could and turned on the car radio to listen on my way to the meeting.
I caught a few minutes of TV in the break room when I arrived at Mondavi's office.
The meeting was brief and everyone agreed to postpone it for a week.
Upon arriving at my office i found out the towers had collapsed ant the pentagon had also been hit. Somewhere in there I heard there were 10 planes they were tracking and other speculative errors.
On the way home I stopped and bought a small American flag and attached it to the radio antennae on my vehicle and flew it until it shredded away.
As it shredded my feelings went from ones of solidarity to feelings of how our country was being shredded as I watch our government's response.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 9/10/2006 @ 11:04 pm PT...
I was in Barcelona, returned from a UREP dig in the Pyrenees and discussing with a friend the assassination of the leader of the Afghan rebels and the Muslim uprising in Nigeria - as being indicative of an incipient Arab jihaad when a fellow with a cell phone behind us on the bus started yelling, in English with an American accent, "Oh, the President's being followed, being shot at!...." I asked what was going on, he said "we've been attacked....they've taken out the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and now they're going after the President!" I had relatives and friends in NYC, some of whom may have beenin the Tours, so I asked how many had died, who, etc...and he kept on about the President being followed. Finally, I lost it and shouted, "he's not my President, I don't care a f**k about him, what's going on in NYC!" And the bus, full of Barceloneans (sp?) errupted in applause and started sharing data on NYC. Back at the hotel, we had a big screen TV and all the 9-11 Twin Towers falling was showing non-stop. The hotel was full of English engineers, on holiday with a special package, and all were watching and opinions ranged from "Oh that's a bomb in the Towers, no buildings come down that way with a strike in the upper third...watch the little building, it's coming down the same way...that's a bunch of demolition bombs taking them down." And I've never believed a thing about 9-11 since.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 9/11/2006 @ 1:30 am PT...
I was sitting in my apartment in Prague, translating an advertising contract and savoring the glorious early autumn afternoon drifting in from my garden when the TV screen caught my eye (I have an attention problem that requires me to have the radio on and the TV on with no sound when I work, otherwise I can't concentrate). I immediately muttered "Mossad!" and watched in horror as the day's events unfloded. The phone started ringing, mostly Czech friends who wanted to commiserate with and offer their support to their only American acquaintance. That evening I lit a candle in my window, something I did every night for 49 nights, just in case any lost souls needed a place to alight. As the days went by my shock turned increasingly to anger, as I watched our savage and moronic administration squander a tsunami of good will and plunge our fair Earth into the most dire of situations.
Today dawned brilliant and poignant in Prague. I will slog away at translating an insurance policy and hold my thumbs (that's what Czechs do instead of crossing their fingers) that this 9/11 passes less eventfully. What our country needs more than anything else at this point is for the vile perps to be finally brought to justice.
Peace and love to all you wonderful Bradvillians. Let us search out and count our blessings, one of which is the fine community we share - thanks, Brad et al.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
JUDGE OF JUDGES
said on 9/11/2006 @ 7:06 pm PT...
Agent99 - Can I hop in the old clawfoot for a while ?
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 9/11/2006 @ 7:10 pm PT...
I was on my two day "weekend" Tuesday and Wednesday, I was a private airport security passenger screener in Spokane, WA....one of those IQ deficient "hamburger flipping" mental retards that FAA blamed for 9/11..(well now you all know FAA (TSA) lied to cover their asses about what they were doing on 9/11)...and "fired" 22,000 private security screeners with a "bonus" of about 200.00 a piece (by the way, most of us "failed" the test because we were not allwoed to "test" until after our jobs were filled by friends, relatives and passer-bys, first, no joke)...and are still lying and "fixing" the reports...to look like the "gropers" now, at the airports are doing a better job...they lie because they have grown accustomed to throwing tax money at themselves and giving themselves hugely expensive awards ceremonies at your expense, while you are being humiliated at the airport
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 9/11/2006 @ 8:04 pm PT...
Why JoJ!!! Are you flirting with me?
Most unfortunately, I do not live there anymore, and I don't know if my clawfoot does either. I was a VERY happy renter there, and now am a not-nearly-as-happy owner elsewhere.
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 9/11/2006 @ 11:15 pm PT...
I had woken up and knew it would be a good day. It was my 1st year anniversay of opening my own business. It was a beautiful warm morning, My husband and I were on the trail with our dog for a walk when a lady came out of her house to tell us a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We were flabbergasted. We got home as fast as we could only to find my son already home from his first day of college. His class had been cancelled. We all sat in front of the TV horrified at what we were witnessing. We cried at the horrors we as a family and nation were experiencing! Feeling so badly for all the people in New York, Washington, and Shanksville. It was not a good day, it was horrible way to commemorate something so great in my own life and so devastating for our country, it is a day I will never forget. Now today on my 6th anniversary, I have never been so pissed about what my country is becoming and never so determined to get MY COUNTRY BACK. It makes me sick to see this administration use 9-11 for photo ops but they have been doing it for five years now and nothing they do surprises me anymore. I can only hope that we will know the truth in our lifetimes of what really happened that day.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 9/12/2006 @ 1:45 am PT...
I was getting ready to drive into NYC when I heard the report on the radio that a plane had hit the WTC. I thought Cessna, amateur pilot. It was one of the most beautiful brilliant clear crisp mornings of all time. Driving, I heard about the second strike on the radio, knew it was an attack. Coming over the hump on the New York Thruway in Yonkers I saw the beautiful white mushroom cloud, like the picture in the post above, only higher, much higher, and I thought "what if there's a biological component to the attack?"
I decided to keep my appointment. I found the bridges across the Harlem River were closed, found a parking spot on Fordham Road, walked across the bridge. The subway was closed. I started walking south down Broadway. After a couple of miles, a bus came by. The driver wouldn't let me pay.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 9/12/2006 @ 2:52 am PT...
My alarm was set to wake me to NPR. I couldn't tell what they were upset about, but it was obvious something was very wrong, so I turned on CNN and saw that one tower was already down. I knew the administration was aching to take our civil liberties away and I knew this would help them. Of course I had no idea at the time, the Democrats would do nothing to stop them, but, being so far away from NY, It was really my biggest fear.
When I got to work, there was a meeting going on everybody knew there was one building down, but when I told them the other one fell on my way to work, they just said "NO, the whole thing too?"
Since the people I worked with were pretty politically involved, but right wing crazies, (nice people though), I said I thought it might be the work of PETA for a little comic relief. That got a pretty big laugh, but it's the only one that day! The polarization of our nation was about to shift into high gear, and I knew it!