Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Stories

I really do feel better for having written down the story of my miscarriage yesterday. You people are wonderful, and I appreciate the hugs and sympathy and empathy. Thank you all for that. And in response to Dana, I will do a post soon about things to say and ways to respond when someone you know goes through a miscarriage.

Unfortunately, today is the anniversary of an event that was tragic on a much larger scale.

*Update: Please go to Burgh Baby's Mom's site today and this month. Besides having a wonderful tribute to Flight 93, she is donating ad revenue to those trying to fund a permanent memorial to the site in Shanksville, PA. Also, she's a very funny and eloquent lady.

Of course I remember where I was. I was driving to work when we lived in Georgia. I turned on the radio to hear music on my morning commute. But the station that always played music had on news. I shook my head and hoped they hadn't been bought out. I turned to another station that always played music in the morning. They also had news on. That was when it occurred to me that maybe something was going on and I should listen.

I heard when the second Tower was hit. I ran into work and immediately got online to watch the news, as my coworkers were doing. Our boss sent us all home early, where we watched the news all day long, unable to reach family because the phones could not get through.

About mid-afternoon, I turned to my husband (who had also come home early) and told him that we were getting a dog that weekend. We had been debating back and forth about when we should ideally get a puppy. He wanted to wait, and I wanted one weeks ago. I had grown up with indoor dogs who are there to pet and hug and cry on when there are tragedies large and small. This tragedy was beyond large. I needed a dog to hug, thus the declaration was made, and Londo agreed. Our wonderful beagle is my little something good that came out of 9/11.

We were fortunately. We were living in Georgia at the time. None of my family was working in the Pentagon and none lived in NYC. None of our family or friends were killed in these attacks.

A good friend of my parents who I've known since I was little made it out of the second Tower that was hit. After the first Tower was hit, there was a lot of confusion about what was going on. He and his coworkers were not sure which building was hit. They decided to be safe and evacuate. As they walked down many many flights of stairs, some people were heading back up. They said the other building had been hit, so they could go back to their offices.

Did you hear that? Those people went back to their offices!

Our friend continued down and out of the building. He thought he better play it safe. He was outside when that building was hit.

My husband knows a man who had a meeting in the Pentagon that day, but he couldn't make it. So he sent someone who worked under him to go in for the meeting. That person died. The man who didn't go in still hasn't recovered.

Can you imagine? I just can't. I can't imagine being a victim, being a survivor, being a family or friend of a victim. It's still hard for me to believe that any of it happened. It's still hard to reconcile that these horrible things happen in a world that can be so full of beauty.

I remember being younger, maybe in high school or college, and thinking that there was no moment of country-wide "I know where I was when..." for my generation. My parents remembered where they were when they heard Kennedy was shot. My grandparents remember where they were when they heard that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. We didn't have anything, us Gen-Xers. I thought that perhaps that was part of why we were a selfish generation.

Now, we have something. We have 9/11 and terrorist attacks. We have the wave of patriotism and putting flags on everything that came afterwards. We were united by tragedy.

This the world in which I will raise my child. This world, post 9/11 - with extra security, with war, with racism, with hatred, with terror. This world, post 9/11 - with heros, with patriotism, with empathy, with sympathy, with support for each other during tragedies large and small. This is a different world than the one in which I was raised. But for better and worse, this is the world in which I will raise my child.


-goofydaddy said...

i was at home that Tuesday morning, and my roommates were watching the news. we watched it all unfold. Dana's Dad worked in the pentagon at the time, and we finally got in touch with him. I found out later that my first manager who had moved to NY and worked in one of the towers didn't make it out. a documentary filmmaker made a film about how the rest of her family dealt with telling her son that she was gone.

"Telling Nicholas" aired on HBO, it was a really good film. It also helped me understand why Michele was so wacky - her parents and siblings are something else!

Becoming Mommy said...

I in a Starbucks bathroom. But I couldn't be more grateful. If not, well...I wouldn't be posting.

I'm Not Skippy said...

I heard about it at work while listening to the radio. We went to the conference room to watch on TV.

My wife is a first grade teacher. The kids in her class and younger will never know what it means to go through that, just as we won't know what it was like for JFK to be shot or the attack on Pearl Harbor.

You were raised post lots of things. You turned out OK. I think it will affect how you parent more than it will the Pumpkin. She won't feel a difference because it's all there ever was.

Colleen said...

I was getting ready for work (Justin and I worked 10-7 shift) and heard about the first plane on the news playing in the background. We thought it was some little cessna-type plane. We got in the car and by the time we tuned the radio, the second tower had been hit.

We were also let go early from work and while driving home we saw the fighter jets racing in the sky. We only saw a handful of cars on our 20-mile drive home. The silence was eerie.

Thank you for remembering.

ImpostorMom said...

I was thinking of that morning today too. All of us sitting around in the middle in our over-priced chairs staring at that radio. Trying to watch video on the internet while news sites crashed because of the traffic.

Burgh Baby said...

I arrived in Boston Logan half an hour before the terrorists left that airport then spent the rest of the day in limbo, trying to find out what was happening. My boss was flying into La Guardia and saw the first plane hit, while she was still in the air. I'm always grateful that she was as wonderful and understanding as she was, because there was no working that day, or even that week.

Thanks for the link.

HeatherY said...

We were actually out in Colorado and woke up after it had happened. It just seemed so surreal.

Anonymous said...

DH and I had just started dating three days prior. Probably wouldn't remember the exact date of our first kiss otherwise.

We both worked with a woman whom we also considered our friend. DH had walked past her office after a meeting and told me perhaps I should go see her. She was upset and said to me, "A plane hit one of the towers in NY." I said, "Oh what, a drunk pilot clip it or something?" Then she told me how it was on purpose and that the plane went directly through one floor of the building. She was upset because one of her friends worked in that building. I can't remember the details now but as it turned out her friend had either quit or been laid off the week prior and was fine.

Still I just couldn't comprehend this situation and it took a while to process it. I don't think until the footage of it was viewed over and over that it really started to sink in.

Let's just hope the defining moment for our kids generation is something positive. Like nuclear weapons not only banned for ALL nations but destroyed. Or a cure for cancer or something else that can be remembered fondly.

I'm Not Skippy said...

You know when you were younger and older people would talk about where they were when JFK was shot and you'd roll your eyes at them. 15 or so years from now our kids will be doing that to us.

And we'll shake our heads and think "damned kids."

People are fighting so hard to keep this wound fresh. I wonder if the same happened after Pearl Harbor or after Lincoln was shot or after the Boston Massacre. Those events have become parts of history, but at the time they must have been as big as September 11th, right? Now we think of them as stories told to us as kids in school, almost turning them into myths or bedtime stories you tell kids to scare them into being good.

I talked about this with a woman I eat lunch with. She's in her early 70's. She lived through a lot. She only vaguely remembers the race riots in Detroit, the Bay of Pigs, or Budd Dwyer shooting himself on national television. She said "at the time they seemed like such big life altering events, things that you'd always remember, but now it's like a distant memory that didn't matter much in the scheme of things."

I by no means mean to say that September 11th wasn't a horrible tragedy (I even hate calling it 9/11, it feels like a catch phrase), or that we shouldn't remember and honor those lost, but for our children. . . for our children those planes hitting those buildings will never be completely real, and as we grow older the memory will remain, but the effects will seem to dissipate. When our children are our age (30ish) New York will have always looked the way it will in a few years once the Freedom Tower is built, airport security will have always sucked, and only a history lesson of what happened 7 years ago today will sit in their minds.

Just as Vietnam, Watergate, and Kennedy are for us.

I'm Not Skippy said...

One more thing. The first clip of the return of the Daily Show gets at what I was saying. It really gets to my point at about 5 minutes, but it's a great clip.

MommyEm said...

Caramama, I don't know if you remember this, but you were the one that told me, through IM, about the planes hitting the towers. I was in my basement office of our alma mater and after I realized that you weren't kidding, I tried to look online for information, but didn't have much luck. An office down the hall from mine was being renovated and one of the painters had his old, paint-covered radio turned on, so a few of us huddled around trying to fathom what was taking place in NYC.

Shellie said...

What a world to raise our kids in...

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